I started my working career as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in 1994, qualifying and working at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge.
I then trained as an art therapist and qualified in 2000 from University of Hertfordshire. I have worked with children and families in social care and mental health services in Norfolk since 2001. I initially worked for Anglia Foster Care associates (2001-3) and social services family solutions team until 2009.
In 2010 I began working for CAMHS as an Art Therapist at Mary Chapman House in Norwich until 2015. I then went on to join the Parent Infant Mental Health Attachment Project (PIMHAP). This is the second team in England which set out as an innovation project for parents whose young babies and infants were on the edge of care, at risk of removal with social services and the family justice system in Norfolk.
My interest in infant art psychotherapy lies in early infant development and treatment. Early infant attachment is made of strong maternal and paternal fusion and forms its own inherent pathway for life, so helping change some pathways that are forming through abuse and neglect are paramount for early intervention. My journey in art therapy has been to integrate the non-verbal world to connect with verbal understanding and meaning through the sensory and art process so that we make sense together of our attachment experiences. I am grateful for having such a rich creative world I learn to share daily in experiences with others and realise how precious we as therapists can be to be honoured at hearing about private struggles and experiences of these very vulnerable parents and their infants. It is sheer joy to watch them to connect sometimes for the first time with their children in ways they never knew were possible after years of developmental trauma they have experienced.
I have also been fortunate to explore the relationship of humans being alongside in a relationship with animals, particularly horses and I have part 2 training in Equine therapy. Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) The connection of sensory non-verbal intervention that enables intimacy and attunement leads us to integration. Art connects us with mind and body as does touch, smell, sound and taste. Animals are inherently attuned to this and so in early stages we too are as babies.