August 28, 2015
Around the globe in 1 afternoon with Spinning World
The team at Spinning World know that although our work is varied and extremely important, we are often seen disappearing into and out of rooms with clients and its quite difficult to describe exactly what we do. So instead of introducing you to a day in the life of staff members we decided to tell you about the life in a day of some of our clients. Here are 3 client stories written by three different practitioners. To protect everyone’s confidentiality some of the details have been changed but just imagine 2pm on a Wednesday in July when three of our six practitioners are all seeing clients at the same time….
Julie Chan: Psychological Therapist.
I am based within a secondary school in Liverpool and my role is to provide therapeutic support to the students who may have experienced trauma; in particular those from the BME and asylum seeking and refugee community.
My first appointment is with Salima is a 13 year old British born Bangladeshi referred by school because they noticed her attitude to school work had changed and seemed to lack concentration. Her attendance was also of some concern too. Salima requested the referral as she knew that she was not feeling herself and wanted to talk about it. Her Bangladeshi parents, who now live in the UK, were initially very wary of her accessing support from outside of the family and not particularly happy that her school suggested a therapy service. They did realise that their daughter was struggling though, and commented on her being very teary at home and seemed to be so sad all of the time. They were not aware that Salima was being bullied and racially attacked on her way home from school. In fact when Salima was referred she’d started to self-harm and had feelings of not wanting to be alive.
Fast forward 2 months to the present day, Salima is much more settled and is attending school again. She’s really finding her voice! She’s started to talk about some of the issues that affect her identity as a British born Bangladeshi person. She talks about the discrimination she faces because of her skin colour. She’s aware of the long journey ahead but just for today she is looking forward to her last lesson because she has Art & Design. Salima loves textiles and hopes to become a fashion designer. The school bell rings and before Salima gets up to leave she thanks me and says she’ll see me next week “Bye Miss!”. I have to remind myself that Salima is 13 years of age and a very self-aware young lady. I am impressed by her resilience and her courage as she explores new ways to cope and manage self-harming.
Trish Doocey: Counsellor
Did you know that we have a service in Wigan? I have worked with adult asylum seekers and refugees in Wigan and Leigh for the last few years for Spinning World. This NHS funded work focuses on alleviating the effects of terrible experiences our clients have had in their home countries.
Today I saw Violette who is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When she first started seeing me about a year ago she was only sleeping for two hours each night. She had symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following the terrible abuse she was subjected to by soldiers. Her flashbacks to the events that were so bad she believed they were happening again. Sometimes she would even smell gunpowder because the memories were so strong. Although things are better now, Violette still has bad nightmares and finds it hard to concentrate on what’s going on around her. It has been a privilege to get to know this brave woman who stood up against the authorities and paid the price for it. She has been grateful for a safe place and plenty of time to talk about what happened and to take some of the sting out of it. There have been tears and laughter. I have shared what I know about trauma, the best ways to process it, and tools that can help people take control of their lives once again. Violette says that what has been crucial is feeling accepted and not judged for what she has endured. Unfortunately the Home Office don’t believe Violette so she is still battling for the right to stay in the UK and her symptoms continue whilst she is still not safe
In separate box linked by arrow or similar The democratic Republic of Congo is a vast country struggling to recover from Africa’s “World war” which occurred between 1998 and 2003 when up to six million people were killed in direct fighting and as a result of disease and malnutrition caused by it.
It is referred to as the rape capital of the world. Eastern regions are still volatile despite the peace agreement of 2013.
Marina: Specialist Practitioner
The part of the project I work in is funded by Child and Adolescence Mental Health Team. My role involves using play and expressive arts therapy to help children cope with difficult life circumstances. I see children in primary schools across Liverpool.
When the behaviour of eight year old Daniel deteriorated, the school contacted our service with a requested for therapy. Daniel and his family arrived in the UK from Latvia in 2011. His family like many young families have left the country to seek better life abroad.
From the beginning of our therapy sessions, Daniel aggressive feelings were released through every medium he used. While playing therapeutic board games he would break all the boundaries and expect special privileges. In the sand tray Daniel would smash down in rage everything he built carefully. His paintings afterwards were often covered in dark paints.
As a therapist who is in touch with my ethical self, I had to restrain from any judgement or criticism. Because of my permissiveness and unconditional acceptance of Daniel’s spontaneous play, Daniel was able to express his feelings of anger and rage.
Daniel’s father found a manual job soon after their arrival. He worked shifts. Often resting from work during the day, he was unable to participate in family life. Daniel’s mother who stayed at home to look after the children, felt isolated. Daniel and his younger brother found hard to fit in the new school. They all missed family and friends back in Latvia. The family troubles culminated one day into a row and a fight between parents. Daniel and his younger brother witnessed all this.
In separate box. A former republic of the Soviet Union, Latvia joined EU in 2004. The global financial crisis hit the country in 2008-2009. Unemployment was high. More than 15,000 Latvians were registered to work in the UK last year.