Jacqueline Gray, the co-founder of Holistic Healing 4 Children along with Terri Allen, talks to QA Education editor Victoria Galligan about the work her team carry out with pupils and their families, as well as schools, to provide a holistic approach to empowering pupils to control their emotions.
What is Holistic Healing and how does it help children?
Holistic Healing 4 Children works closely with the family to bring about a positive change for pupils. As we are holistic we look at the whole child including their environment, diet, exercise, how much TV they watch, how much sleep they get etc.
We have a questionnaire that we ask the parent to fill out initially and we generally have a talk to the parent before seeing their child, to get a good idea of the issue from their point of view.
The pupil has a minimum of three sessions (this is usually enough to make a desired change to the situation) and the sessions are totally non invasive and very creative. We get a lot of information from the child through their drawings and guided imagery.
Once we have got an idea where the problem lies and where they are out of balance, we then make recommendations to the pupil and the family. Sometimes an adjustment in the family is needed in order for them to become back into balance.
They are given suggestions, recommendations, tools and strategies as to how they can make positive changes and we send a write up report with these suggestions after the initial consultation. We believe that working closely with everyone really benefits the client. This can even involve going to the school and doing observations and making recommendations for the teacher where necessary.
What different types of services do you offer?
We work individually with clients and we offer emotional wellbeing workshops in schools and training for teachers and parents on how to use our resources to get the very best out of them.
How does the crystal healing bed work?
The Crystal bed is something that we offer our individual clients, including members of their family. It helps to balance and harmonise the body as well as the emotions.
Can you give some examples of how holistic healing has helped mainstream schools?
We go into schools and deliver emotional wellbeing workshops using our books My Magical Garden and My Magical Tree. The workshops help the children with emotional expression and regulation through the use of their imagination.. We also offer teacher training to give the teachers the tools to access the child’s imagination and through this approach, which when used regularly, it can help a child/teenager to transfer a physical safe place to a mental safe place, giving them a new skill to cope with difficult situations.
We have had great feedback from our workshops and they are always very well received. The children connect to the approach very quickly and when encouraged they use it to help them through negative moments.
The books also offer advice in the back which teachers have found very informative and a way of encouraging their pupils to communicate their feelings.
If you see our YouTube channel, you will see interviews that we have had with teachers who give their feedback after attending the workshop.
It’s all about giving the children and teachers a strategy to use when there are emotionally challenging moments.
What advice can you give to headteachers of mainstream schools re holistic healing?
We totally recommend trying our workshops and learning about our approach. It is simple, enjoyable and yet very effective and in particular for children who present with challenging behaviours. When the strategy is fully embraced by the whole school it becomes a powerful tool to help develop emotional wellbeing in schools; a great resource for PSHE and an opportunity for cross-curricular activities in creative writing and art. It can have a significant impact, especially for the children who are more emotionally challenged, allowing them to flourish.
Can children with severe SENDs benefit from holistic healing?
Absolutely. Everything we do can be adapted to whoever we are working with. Holistic Healing 4 Children offers a non-threatening way to communicate and it offers a strategy for children who struggle with their emotions.
Does holistic healing help families as well as schools?
Yes we work with both schools and families. With schools we generally go in for a full day of workshops and at the moment we offer these for free (we do need to ask for travel expenses where necessary). We train the teachers and offer a workshop for the parents too so that everyone is onboard with the approach.
We run workshops for parents and we offer individual sessions. The idea is to empower the child. We give tools and strategies so that they can learn to regulate their emotions without becoming reliant on us. We recommend a minimum of three sessions and usually that is enough but if more sessions are needed then we go with what feels best for each client.