Anita Crossley | Misterton DN10 + 15 Miles
How would you describe Drawing and Talking in its simplest terms?
Drawing and Talking is a gentle person centered technique that enables adults and children to express worries, trauma, fears and hurts from deep within the mind. Thoughts that may preoccupy their mind or have been buried; emotions and thoughts that they may not be able to talk about can be communicated in a visual form – through drawings.
Why are you so passionate about Drawing and Talking?
There is still such a stigma around mental health and wellbeing. So many people both young and old are held captive by old hurts and fears, afraid to expose their innermost thoughts and feelings. I have seen this therapy release so many from the chains of those emotions. Allowing individuals, with the help of a trained, empathic practitioner, to explore and sort through emotions and thoughts at their own pace, in a safe, non-judgemental and gentle way.
What is the age range you work with?
I have worked with both children of all ages in the primary school setting but also young people and adults..
How has COVID impacted the mental wellbeing of the families in these areas?
COVID has meant that children and adults have experienced planned and unplanned endings in school, the work place and sadly for some life. This has had a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of families and individuals as they have had, and are continuing to cope with, feelings such as, anxiety, fear, stress, loneliness, uncertainty, poverty and loss. Drawing and Talking is an effective way to provide support through this difficult time.
Many men and teenagers in particular are reluctant to seek help when struggling with negative thoughts and emotions. This is demonstrated sadly when we see that suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults and men. We need more opportunities for these groups to be supported with their mental health and wellbeing. It is okay not to be okay and I’d like the stigma around seeking help and talking about our feelings as a sign of weakness finally erased! – especially through this uncertain time.
Whilst using Drawing and Talking, what is your greatest success story?
One of my most rewarding times whilst delivering Drawing and Talking was watching someone who had been depressed for some time realise where many of the negative feelings about themselves came from. She realised how that had impacted her life and through the weeks was enabled to leave those feelings in the past. I watched as her whole posture and mental attitude changed. Through the sessions as she started to rewrite her future., she planned to join a group that she hadn’t had the courage to before and through that, new friendships were formed, her self esteem grew and she was able to reduce her medication. I still keep in touch with her today and she says that Drawing and Talking really did save her life!