One area that stands out for me during this whole experience of Covid 19 is grief and loss. As we settle into week 6 (or 7 if like me you made the decision slightly ahead of the Government) of this new normal, we can locate the loss of so much which sits alongside the intensity of concern for elderly relatives and our friends and family with underlying health conditions. We might call that potential grief and loss as we imagine life without our closest relationships. The news, drip-feeding loss throughout the day creating a background soundtrack that we are desperately trying to replace with house parties, family quizzes and twitter exchanges.
Now what if you are a child, in your developmental world of the constant firing and wiring up of neurons building your internal architecture? Who is holding that space? It will be parents, carers and then teachers when children and young people return to school. Do you feel equipped to hold that space? Who is holding that space for you?
COVID-19 has not only disrupted every aspect of our daily lives, and locked us down, it has also magnified losses that were pre-existing, and opened up the topics of death, loss and grief, making them part of our daily conversations. If we found these conversations difficult before COVID-19 and avoided having them, thinking grief and loss were topics for ‘another day’, they are even harder now, as the issue of mortality has threatened our sense of safety, challenged our capacity for change, emotional resilience, and questioned how we find peace of mind.
Added to this are the ‘big little losses’ – our children can’t see and socialise with friends and family, attend school, after school clubs, be at places of play, safety and refuge, all of which has thrown them, and us (parents and educators) into a state of grieving for our familiar routines, relationships, and human connections.
As we find ourselves in this new state of uncertainty and unbalance, not waving but almost drowning in grief, feeling angry one minute, and in denial the next, the question becomes – how do we talk to our children about grief and loss, and enable them to feel a sense of safety, and peace of mind? How do we find this for ourselves?
On Wednesday the 29th at 10.30am, I have invited Amanda Seyderhelm to join me in conversation on the podcast. I am going to host this as a FREE webinar so people can be part of the conversation and ask questions. Amanda is CRUSE Qualified to work with bereaved children and young people, a journey which started when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer nad then realised that she would never have her own children.
Painting helped her to make sense of her losses, find her voice, and find a new direction. She recovered her health, and has been painting ever since. This led her to explore working with children through painting, drawing and writing, and discovered the power of therapeutic storytelling. Shortly afterwards she had a dream which became her first book, Isaac and the Red Jumper for bereaved children.
She became a child play therapist because she knows that when children find their voice, they find their power and sense of wellbeing. Amanda is a recognised expert in her field of innovative creative play therapy for children. She is a certified Play Therapist where she focuses her work with children between the ages of 4 and 12, and has been in private practice since 2015. Previously she spent 4 years as a play therapist in a primary school in the East Midlands.
Her area of specialism is in treating children (and their families) who are suffering with mild to moderate emotional or psychological problems following bereavement, helping them navigate the 4 stages of ‘cycle of loss and change’: loss, change, resolution and resilience.
Amanda’s new book, Helping Children Cope with Loss and Change: A guide for professionals and parents was published by Routledge in 2020, and details each of the 4 stages of the cycle of loss and change, and includes 10 therapeutic story scripts to read with children. She is an accredited CPD Trainer for practitioners on childhood bereavement.
Register HERE to JOIN THE WEBINAR
*Amanda is a member of Play Therapy UK, and The Association of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice, and conforms to its ethical framework, Conduct of Practice, appropriate Clinical Governance procedures and CPD requirements. She is registered on the PSA Approved Play Therapy Register. Her work is clinically supervised, and she has professional liability insurance and a fully enhanced CRB
** Signposting resources will be referenced during this webinar, as well a ‘takeaway’ infographic about ‘how to talk to children about the Coronavirus’.