Jo Harley



How do you get from a career in sales management to Drawing and Talking Practitioner? Well...…'s my story. Having graduated from Southampton University back in the nineties with a BSc Hons in Social Policy I gained employment at EMAP Publishing, now known as Bauer. I sold advertising over the phone and thus began a career spanning 25 years in media publishing sales and brand management. During those 25 years I found a husband and delivered into the world our daughter. Our home-front is completed with our four-legged crazy companion, our working cocker spaniel.

In October 2016 however, a change was in the air. I made a very brave decision and left the media publishing sales world to embark on a new journey that meant something for me. Within my commercial work I relished coaching young sales professionals - mentoring them to be the best they could be. I took that skill to where it really mattered. Not for the benefit of someone else’s bottom line, but for the future of our next generation. I turned to the world of education.

Having qualified as a Learning Support Assistant, I explored the opportunities that primary school education offered. It became clear during my training that the mental wellbeing of children was critical within education.
Schools have a central role to play in enabling their pupils to be resilient and to support good mental health and wellbeing. I wanted to apply myself in this area and make a difference for children.
We know that 1in 10 children in the average class in the UK is suffering a diagnosable mental health illness (DfE/DH, 2017). According to NHS data, 12.8% of children aged 5 to 19 had a child mental disorder in 2017.
Strong mental health in a child’s early life is important and consequently our role in schools is profound. Whilst teachers and Learning Support Assistants such as myself are not here to diagnose or treat mental ill health, we are there to support and teach preventative and protective opportunities.
I received training to specialise in the emotional wellbeing of children and became qualified as a Drawing and Talking Practitioner in the Spring of 2019. In the summer of 2020 I set up as an independent Practitioner of Drawing and Talking and in October 2020 I gained advanced knowledge in Drawing and Talking therapy and am now qualified in Sand Play therapy and group work.
As an intervention, Drawing and Talking is important work in supporting the good mental health of our children. It is the most rewarding work I have ever done.


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Postcode: LE1