Elaine Dean | Oldham

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How would you describe Drawing and Talking in its simplest terms?

Drawing and talking is a person led technique which can be used to support adults, young people and children who are/have experienced some form of trauma. It consists of 12 short weekly meetings with a trained practitioner that supports the client to express themselves through mark making and drawing. It is a non- threatening intervention that encourages the release of distress that may be resulting in low self- esteem, depression, grieving, addiction, or self-harm.

Why are you so passionate about Drawing and Talking?

I am passionate about ‘drawing and talking’ because it is calming, it relieves pressure rather than increases it. As a technique it is unique to the person experiencing it because they are in control. Drawing and Talking provides both comfort and relief through a relationship based on trust and respect. Significantly for some people it can provide a helping hand to moving in a new direction whilst for others it can highlight the need for more specialist intervention. I like that it is a technique that can be used with both children, young people, and adults.

What is the age range you work with?

I have worked with both children and adults in Education for almost 30 years, so I am happy to work across a wide age range.

What areas of emotional wellbeing do you most connect with and are passionate about supporting?

I really want to work with people who are suffering from low self-esteem and lack of worth.

How has COVID impacted the mental wellbeing of the families in these areas?

During the current climate people who suffer with mental illness are extremely vulnerable, they feel isolated, unwanted and that they have very little purpose. Familiar routines have been halted so that going to school/work and shopping have been prevented. Parents have been expected to home school their children which for many has resulted in stress and loss of learning especially in mixed aged households and where adults lack confidence in their ability to understand what is expected. Links between extended families have been weakened because families have been unable to meet up or visit each other. The uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 has left many adults and children insecure and frightened on many levels from giving birth alone, illness, loss of loved ones and job security. There has also been disappointment regarding cancelled events such as holidays, weddings, and various celebrations

Ultimately people have been fed-up and with Covid still a threat vulnerable children and adults feel they are left without hope.

Whilst using Drawing and Talking, what is your greatest success story?

My success story so far is working with a 22yr old woman suffering from depression and low self-esteem who has grown in confidence over the weeks and has gone from speaking very little to instigating conversation. Recently she has  also started to do some volunteering.

She has shared her experience with family and as a result I now have another young person to work with.