Sparkling Moment

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What has been a ‘Sparkling Moment’ you have experienced in the past two weeks? This was the question to start our time together in a recent group I was working with. For some this was an easy enough question to answer. For others it was harder to think of something. They felt they were stuck in a negative way of seeing the world. This may be partly personality, and also a hyper-vigilant response to multiple crises/traumas; but as humans we can tend to have a negativity bias. While this is an important part of the survival response designed to identify threat, it can become less helpful when over-active or stuck ‘on’.

However the study of gratitude has shown us the value of noticing the positives, in terms of wellbeing and mental health. How can I notice and be grateful for the small and the large moments in my day; the sun, the smile, the hello, the coffee, the connection, the home… What can I be thankful for today? I recently spoke with someone who was working to notice three positive things each day, in an important but challenging relationship. This was an intentional choice to build on gratitude, and focus on the good moments.

The approach of ‘Appreciative Enquiry’ allows for us to reflect from a stance that seeks to notice ‘what is going right?’ not just ‘what is going wrong?’. This can have a significant impact on how we develop our work and what we do.

So what about you? What is your ‘Sparkling Moment’ from this week?

Inner Outings: nurturing the spark

Inner Outings: nurturing the spark

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The spark for ‘Inner Outings’ came in the midst of an international catch up conversation. Colin and I had become friends while we did our Art Psychotherapy training together, but in early 2019 we were both in the midst of transitions that was bringing one of us ‘back to’ and the other ‘away from’ Belfast.

As Art Therapists we both have to engage in regular supervision. This is both a requirement of our professional registration, but also a support that we would not be without! It helps us think about our work with our clients and how to do this well or better; it supports us as ‘helping professionals’ to offload and take care of ourselves; and it helps us to think about the contexts in which we work and need to navigate. As we talked we realised that we both had an interest to develop our own work in the area of supervision, but not just for Art Therapists. Rather we had a passion to develop spaces for all those who work in contexts where they engage with people but do not get, what we experience as vital; a regular supervisory type experience where we are encouraged and supported to reflect on our practice.

And so after that initial spark we continued to talk and dream and plan and ‘Inner Outings’ was born. We played around with ideas of what this ‘thing’ would be called, and as anyone who has tried to come up with a name will know, this was challenging. But ‘Inner Outings’ seemed to express what we hope we will be able to offer. Spaces for reflection and self care that journey inwards and outwards; considering and making space for our inner and outer contexts and conditions and helping us to live better in both aspects. The labyrinth-inspired logo is symbolically representative of this. We are still at the beginning of this journey and we hope to meet fellow travellers for whom Inner Outings will provide worthwhile and playful spaces of inspiration, support and growth.

Reflective Practice Retreat – Sep 2019

Our next retreat is focussed on Reflective Practice.

It will run from 27 – 29th September, 2019, at the Drumalis Retreat Centre in Larne, Northern Ireland.

It will run from 5pm on Friday (arrive 4pm on) to 2pm on Sunday afternoon. Accommodation, meals, and any materials needed are all provided.

Travel costs to and from the venue are not included and you will need to make your own transport arrangements.

The retreat costs £290 (£260 early bird to the end of June).

TERMS & CONDITIONS: Payment must be received to confirm the booking. There is a non-refundable fee of £50. Cancellations – One month before 100% refund (minus fee); 14 days before 50% refund (minus fee); less than 14 days full cost (your place can be transferred to a friend but no refund available)