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Open Hands

Creative Writing for Pleasure and Wellbeing for those receiving Healthcare and Social care.

There is growing evidence that the Arts can be beneficial to recovery from illness, as well as to our sense of wellbeing.

As a former NHS Rehabilitation Medicine Consultant,specialising in the care of working -age adults with complex neurological disability, I fully welcomed and encouraged the Participatory Arts, for those under my care. This included dedicated volunteers, as well as trained arts therapists such as music therapists.

Activities such as art, crafts, writing, music making, dance and movement,can be a simple cost-effective means of recreation and exercise too, that can be done in groups as well as alone. At the initial level, they can provide distraction from boredom and times in between therapy sessions, investigations and treatments, but also, importantly a means of self -expression and discovering or rediscovering, one's innate creativity (which is a real joy to witness!)

In some people, engaging in these activities can not only enhance an a sense of wellbeing and achievement, but also improve aspects of physical and cognitive function,that may have been affected by their health condition.

My long experience of being professional and personal caregiver, benefits my practice as a Writing for Wellbeing Facilitator greatly, in that, not only am I very familiar and comfortable in clinical settings , but I am also sensitive and adaptable to the needs of those who are vulnerable,and to the staff who care for them. This includes planning sessions that allow more time to acclimatise and engage in an activity, rest breaks, maybe stretches to prevent pain and discomfort, adapting activities and being reflexive to the group. I am also highly aware of the importance of offering the option for family members to join groups, and the need for respectful, confidential communication with staff, to ensure and maintain the wellbeing and safety of patients/service users/residents, at all times.

I can design and facilitate online workshops for to any location, and I am able to provide in person workshops in the London region from March 2022 (COVID-19 guidance and safety precautions allowing).

Examples of my work in healthcare and community settings

As part of my training and final year dissertation the MA in Creative Writing & Personal Development, Sussex University (2003-2005), where I trained to facilitate writing groups in healthcare, social care and education settings, I designed and ran a weekly Creative Writing group for three inpatients on the Inpatient Management Programme, at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, London, at the time (2005) one of only two London based hospitals offering such specialist inpatient rehabilitation for those with Chronic Pain. I found that writing could be an adjunct  to conventional therapeutic  interventions, such as medications and physical and psychological therapies and facilitated self- expression  and sharing of commonality of experiences about fears, being separated from family, coping with chronic pain , disability and a range of other experiences.

Since 2017, I have provided creative writing workshops as a volunteer, at Enfield Women's mental health drop in centre ('on hold' since 2020 ,due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

 As of July 2021, I am delighted that Storied Selves is one of the listed organisations in the new London Arts and Health Forum Partnerup scheme, aimed to bring organisations and commissioning bodies together, to collaborate and create Arts in Health events and workshops for our community.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, to explore what I can offer and to discuss further, especially if you are a:

  • Linkworker or Social Prescriber looking for a creative group to refer your clients to

  • Community team staff

  • Voluntary sector staff

  •  GP or practice staff

  • the manager of a Care Home looking for creative activities to engage your residents in

  • ;a caring Organisation manager or team leader, looking for wellbeing activities to support your employees alongside their professional care work,

  • Or just interested to find out more!

I am always happy to hear from you!

Creative Writing for Pleasure and Wellbeing for those receiving Healthcare and Social care.: Service
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