Dr Susan Watson | Lincolnshire
How would you describe Drawing and Talking in its simplest terms?
A safe and natural process which enables us to express and realise our worries and preoccupations which we may often not consciously be aware of.
Why are you so passionate about Drawing and Talking?
When working with both younger and older adults I love the way that during the first sessions they tell me that they haven’t drawn for years, maybe since they were at ‘little school’ and that they won’t be able to do it, only to get their heads down, pencil in hand and draw, often nonstop in silence for 30 minutes. During this time, I watch the process and see how their faces reflect the children they used to be, concentrating and occasionally bursting out laughing or letting out a big breath. Then suddenly they look up and say “I think I’m finished.”
The look on their face during and at the end of the process is more than enough to satisfy me that this is something that helps adults as much as children.
What is the age range you work with?
I work with adults of all ages
What areas of emotional wellbeing do you most connect with and are passionate about supporting?
Throughout my career I have primarily worked with young adults battling with debilitating mental health difficulties who are desperately trying to continue on their educational pathway. My focus has always been looking at ways for them to succeed when they are not well enough to attend school, college or university because of their mental health difficulties.
How has COVID impacted the mental wellbeing of the families in these areas?
Services have been hindered for people with mental illness and they have been more isolated and often unable to access support from professionals, family, friends, neighbours, church etc. It has been a time where people have had to lean more heavily social media and virtual contact in their daily lives. Drawing and Talking can be accessed virtually and give individuals the opportunity to express what they maybe don’t even know they’ve been holding on to over this testing time.
Whilst using Drawing and Talking, what is your greatest success story?
Encouraging people to engage with their creativity, to pick up a pencil for half an hour and to fully participate in the process- supporting them use the space to draw and talk freely every session for 12 weeks whether they are struggling with stress, anxiety, bereavement, exhaustion, or living with mental illness; knowing they can work through the process, survive and feel listened to and empowered is the biggest success.