Hi, I’m Helen-initially trained in law, I changed direction and followed my passions of creativity, healing and peace.
I qualified as a Creative Psychotherapist in 2001, and am also a qualified NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner. I have worked in the areas of addiction, mental health, youth work, post-conflict psycho-social support, post-natal depression and education.In 2012 I was honoured to be chosen as a Rotary Peace Fellow, and in 2015 as a Global Peace Index Ambassador.
My work is an honour to do, and I have been humbled to be asked to work with many amazing people on healing journeys, both locally in Cornwall, nationally and internationally. I have witnessed the devastation caused by war, and heard the most heart touching stories of recovery and resilience and am constantly amazed by the strength and endurance of the human spirit against all the odds. My work continues-ever more edging towards what living peacefully looks like, feels like, and means in our quickly changing world.
At the age of twenty four, I was approached to set up a charity working with adults in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. A gap was recognised in statutory service provision for people who had managed to stabilise their drug use, usually on a prescription, but who needed to find a whole new way of life in order to maintain a drug free experience. I worked closely with a dedicated group of people, and with a high degree of participation from people in recovery, to create a unique Structured Day Programme. This provided support groups, skill development, relapse prevention tools-and a community of people also seeking a new life drug and alcohol free. The approach has supported thousands of adults over it’s history. In my final years with Gwellheans I retrained as a Creative Psychotherapist.
Kosovo-A life changing experience
My first ever position as a qualified Creative Psychotherapist was in 2003 in Kosovo. It was there that I gained a deep interest in conflict, how this affects communities, and how they could heal. I supported a very small NGO working with children affected by the conflict in Gjakova near the Albanian border. Kosovo was a deeply moving and life changing experience, and in 2008 I pursued a Masters in conflict resolution in order to learn more about armed conflict from an academic perspective. During my MA in conflict resolution, my research focused into developing the ‘H.E.R’ model to support victims of armed conflict, supporting their healing and the prevention of future violence.
Creative Psychotherapy 2003-2011
Creative Psychotherapy is the use of creative techniques and tools in order to facilitate and support the healing process. My own practice focussed onto working with people in groups. My specialism was in the use of drama and stories, however, I also regularly utilised art, movement and musical techniques. There is a great power in working with groups of people who are going through a similar process. Everyone has their own journey, but the power of peer support is very strong, and can provide the basis for people to feel cared for and that they are not alone. Examples of groups I facilitated during this time included groups for mums diagnosed with post natal depression and groups for young people at risk of exclusion from school. In 2008 I relocated from Cornwall to Bradford University in order to study a Masters Degree in conflict resolution. Most of my work at this time focussed on work with young people who had become refugees after fleeing countries affected by war. My work took place in schools, supporting teachers with creative methods and techniques, to help the children recover from their experiences and settle into their new home and school.
Humanitarian Work 2011-2018
My most recent journeys have taken me to Botswana, Thailand, Cambodia, Libya, South Sudan, Tunisia, and Myanmar. I have been working with international humanitarian organisations. Many of my positions were with a Danish humanitarian organisation working within their humanitarian mine action programmes. The team usually consisted of several people dedicated to clearance of landmines and unexploded ordinance left over following war, team members dedicated to armed violence reduction and professionals like myself, working in the realm of psychosocial support of communities impacted by violence. Projects included spending 18 months in Libya, having the honour of managing a school based Psychosocial Support Project, working with children affected by armed violence in the coastal town of Misurata. I also developed a psychosocial toolkit for the organisation For the past year and a half I have been coming back and forth to Myanmar building the capacity of local teams to provide psychosocial support to communities impacted by violence and landmines in northern Shan State.
Rotary Peace Fellowship 2012
My interest in post conflict healing, was further enhanced and supported by being chosen as a Rotary International Peace Fellow for 2012. I went to Thailand and studied there for three months with experts in the field of international conflict resolution. I worked alongside 25 colleagues from around the world to increase my practical knowledge of peace and conflict transformation ‘on the ground’.
I shall soon be launching a new project dedicated to community cohesion and conflict transformation. Watch this space.