Fairytale Healing for Grief

Alice was referred to me for play therapy when she was five years old, by a team of health service professionals who were offering counselling support to Alice’s father and his new girlfriend. Alice was grieving for her mother who had passed away with cancer two years earlier, when Alice was only three years old.  The little girl had watched helplessly as her mother slowly deteriorated before her eyes. Her father’s inability to come to terms with the loss of his wife, had led to his new girl friend, who had recently moved in, leaving the family home on repeated occasions.  These dramas obviously had an impact on Alice.

She was a pale, solemn little girl with long brown hair and large grey eyes.  In class, Alice spoke very little and was reluctant to join her classmates in their activities at the group activity table, she refused to read or write.  I suggested that rather than insisting on group cooperation, a place should be kept for Alice at the group table so that she could take her place if or when she felt ready to do so.  Meanwhile, she should be allowed to sit separately so that she could draw and paint, activities which she enjoyed.  This would enable her to freely express the painful emotions she seemed to be holding inside.

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A Long Awaited Pilgrimage

Billie Holiday Music touches our hearts when words fail.  It allows healing to take place by altering the vibrational field within a room. It can reduce the debilitating effect of a potentially stressful environment and lessens the impact of colds and ear infections during the early months of language acquisition.  This research is documented in the Sensory Rainbow.

Through music the senses are heightened and the ability to receive sensory stimulation is enhanced. In an attempt to establish musical preference or dislike, it is important to offer a wide choice of music which should include spiritual, popular, folk, romantic , classical , cultural indigenous music etc. etc.  The individual’s personal choice will facilitate their relaxation and healing by helping them to painlessly release imprinted memory patterns of past negative experience retained at the submolecular level within the subtle and physical body systems.  Hone your observation skills and watch, wait and listen for preference to be indicated through body language, eye movement, facial expression and vocalisation.

Clients with intractable conditions have often been referred to me as their last hope when other health professionals have withdrawn. This story is about a man who had been incarcerated in a large asylum hospital for many years before he was moved into community accommodation and subsequently referred for therapy because of his complete dependence on care staff to meet his everyday needs, his self-harming behaviour, lack of speech and limited mobility.

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Never Assume : Healing with Music

Man in shadowsA young Asian man was referred to me because of his limited speech although he made occasional vocal sounds. Arif had a history of violent outbursts and his parents and members of staff in his residential home were subjected to regular attacks of spitting, scratching, pinching and biting.  When I first visited Arif, he was sitting cross-legged with head bowed and shoulders hunched forward.  He anxiously darted glances towards those around him. My initial assessment revealed that his violent outbursts were triggered by the monthly shaving of his body hair in accordance with his faith.  I was told that Arif was terrified of the vibration of the clippers and had to be forcibly restrained by his father and brothers , which perpetuated the cycle of fear.  Arif’s emotional distress manifested in bowel problems which related to long standing patterns of fear and a difficulty in ‘letting go’ of negative feelings.  Interestingly, Arif’s support worker mirrored this pattern with his own diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.

My weekly visits took place in Arif’s room. In an attempt to discover his musical preference, I played a variety of music from all over the world, including folk, classical, sacred and music from his own and other cultures.   Through careful observation of Arif’s responses i.e. vocal sounds, body language and facial expression, it was possible to determine his musical preference.  The outcome of this observation reminded me never to make assumptions.  Showing disinterest in the music from his own Pakistani culture, Arif visibly relaxed and smiled when I played Handel’s Water Music  .  His body language shifted from closed to open and from submissive to empowered as he lifted his head, turned to the music, unfolded his arms, straightened his body and uncurled his legs.  Encouraged by this response, which surprised both me and his care staff , I requested that this  music was played quietly in Arif’s room and on short journeys in the car.  It is my understanding that we carry forward imprinted memory from early childhood experiences  and also from other lives we have lived. Negative memories, if triggered, influence our beliefs and colour our perception and behaviour. This piece of music was obviously empowering Arif and triggering a positive response which we needed to encourage and develop. + Read More

Toning and Energy Alignment to Heal Tinnitus

This is an excerpt from Positive Health Online Issue 220 – February 2015. The full article can be found at: Toning and Energy Alignment to Heal Tinnitus.

Tinnitus is often described as a noise in the head, interestingly the word is taken from the Latin word ‘tinnire’ which means ringing or a tinkling bell. However, my clients who suffered from tinnitus have more frequently described the ‘noise’ in their head as a continuous loud buzzing, droning, whispering, humming or whistling. The sounds are more audible, seem louder and are more of a problem when it’s quiet, or when they are trying to go to sleep.

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According to The British Tinnitus Association, Tinnitus affects 10% of the population of the United Kingdom permanently and affects millions across the world. Tinnitus is the most common injury arising from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and another alarming fact states that 75% of 18 to 30 year-olds who go to nightclubs and concerts may experience temporary tinnitus. It is obvious, therefore that many are in need of both emotional and practical support.

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It’s Never Too Late

My mother Betty was born in 1921. She was the youngest daughter of Alice and Enos Sherborne. Her mother Alice had been a milliner and a window dresser for Harrods, the now famous department store in London. Alice married Enos, a cabinet maker and they had six children. Betty was the youngest daughter. After leaving school at fifteen, Mum worked at the Vickers Armstrong aircraft factory in Weybridge until she was called into the army at the outbreak of the second World War and eventually posted as a telephonist to Bordon Camp in Hampshire, the Canadian Army base.

Mum met my father Percy at a dance in Byfleet in 1945, shortly after his return from a harrowing five year posting abroad. He had served in the 8th Army as one of Field Marshal Montgomery’s ‘desert rats’ in the North African campaigns. After a brief courtship, they married in the local church. I was born nine months later and my brother was born in the Spring of 1948. In 1953, the year of the Queen’s Coronation, my father’s new job in local government prompted a move to the village of Barnack in Lincolnshire, where my youngest brother was born in 1955. + Read More

Susie: Restored by Chopin and Yellow Silk

ChopinSusie, a woman in her forties had learning disabilities and was limited in her ability to express herself.  Her mother had passed away two years earlier and since that time Susie had lived in a residential home with four other women  she hadn’t previously known.  Susie was referred to me because the care staff in the home were unable to cope with her angry outbursts after a period of withdrawal and had put her on medication for depression.  I spent several sessions getting to know Susie; she loved the swathes of coloured silk that I brought with me on each visit and chose to wrap herself in a silk of sunshine yellow.  She would then stand infront of a full length mirror, admiring her reflection.

We can feel the specific vibration of a colour as well as see it because each colour vibrates at a specific frequency on the rainbow spectrum. We are intuitively drawn to the colour we most need at that time, to redress any imbalance within.  The choice of colour is indicative of an individual’s emotional state.

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Toning: Application of the Rainbow Chakra Tones

Toning is an ancient and powerful method of using the voice. The toning process energises the brain and stimulates and regenerates the central nervous system to activate the body’s own self-healing mechanism.  Ancient cultures in both the northern and southern hemisphere understood the law of vibration and recognised sound as energy in motion, acknowledging that everything vibrates at its own frequency, whether a cell within our body, a flower in our garden or a star in the galaxies. Indigenous people felt and appreciated the impact of sound upon the body, the community and the environment, particularly when focused effectively.   This is the principle behind toning.

Before using the Rainbow Chakra tones, a basic understanding of the anatomy of the human energy field and the key principles underpinning the origins of sound is required. The pioneering work of Professor Alfred Tomatis (1920 – 2001) a French physician, psychologist and educator has had a revolutionary impact on our understanding of the ear and subsequently the voice. This has deepened my perception of communication impairment and inspired my research into the relationship between the ear, heart and voice and their link to consciousness. Tomatis believed that we can only voice what we hear and therefore we need to improve our listening ability. It is my understanding that any sound we make ourselves, even humming, nourishes the auditory cortex of the brain and is of higher value than any other sound. Client participation is therefore vital to achieving optimum potential.

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A Musical Memory

MOZARTMusic has had a marked impact on the life of many of my clients with learning disabilities.  I particularly remember one lady, who was referred to me because, although she was forty- four, she had never spoken.  However, staff in her residential home believed that Jean understood most of what was said to her.  One of seven children, she was small and dark haired with pronounced scoliosis of the spine which affected her mobility.  Jean lived in a residential care home with five other men and women of similar age and ability. Her favourite occupation was brushing the hair of a resident or member of staff, whether they liked it or not.  Communication consisted of gestures and pointing to make her wishes known or if not understood, she would pull a member of staff towards the desired object . A wave of the hand meant she was either tired or going outside.  Jean  screamed and threw objects to gain attention or when frustrated. Somewhat disconcertingly, she had a permanent smile on her face, which belied what was going on in her head and confused those around her.

There was little family contact, primarily because of their discomfort in not being able to make sense of Jean’s communication. On my initial visit to see her, the radio in the kitchen was tuned into a popular music station because overwraught staff had made the assumption that their preferred choice of music was also that of the residents.  In the sitting room, the television was switched on, providing a constant drone of  background voices. At the time of my visit, there was only one CD player for communal use .  The CD player lived in the sitting room and because  residents did not have their own personal CD players, there was little opportunity to discover  musical preferences.

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Restoring Peace to the Home

My experience as a foster mother of young children and also as a speech and language therapist in community and hospital clinics,  had shown me that behaviour problems inhibit other aspects of development.  I eventually left my profession in search of another, simpler way of working with adults and children with complex needs.  Having studied the principles of healing and taught holistic therapies, my perception and approach has shifted radically.

Parents often cry out for help as they struggle to assert their authority, fearing that they may add to the difficulties that their child is already experiencing.  I have endeavoured to reassure parents that this is usually not the case because once the child begins to control their behaviour within established parameters with the realisation that it’s their parents who are in charge not them, other problems often resolve amazingly quickly. This usually leads to a general improvement in all aspects of communication. + Read More

Healing the Voice

Angela was a tall frail looking woman in her forties with short dark hair and hunched shoulders.  She spoke in a whisper and rarely made eye contact. Whenever Angela left the residential home in which she lived, she clung to her support worker, linking arms wherever they walked. She had been diagnosed with a genetic condition which affected her intellect and muscular coordination. Her hands would shake and she was often wobbly on her feet. Lacking confidence, Angela rarely spoke above a whisper and her care staff told me that  they were concerned because she ate very little, becoming aggressive if requested  to eat or to do anything she did not want to do.  She was reluctant to talk to people and preferred to spend long periods in her room lying on her bed seemingly exhausted. Angela had had a boyfriend but he had tragically died of heart failure a year earlier, I was told that the subject was never mentioned by Angela or the care staff within the home because they  were afraid of upsetting her. + Read More

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