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Workshop: The Gentle Art of Compassionate Communication

Are you fed up with feeling that people just don’t “get” you?

Tired of repeating yourself over and over and feeling like nobody really hears what you are trying to say?

Are you longing to authentically show up, stand up and be counted?  But struggle with a fear of offending others?  

Have you experienced relationships or friendships that have simply drifted apart leaving you wondering why?   

Take a breath. Now take an even deeper one.  

Do you dream of living in a world where you can communicate clearly and compassionately no matter how challenging the situation is?  

Where you get to speak from your authentic heart?  

A world where you build relationships with colleagues, friends or family built on mutual trust and respect for each other?  

If you feel ready to transform your relationships and are curious to know where to begin, read on…  

Change Your Words, Change Your World

If you are seeking a path that leads you to resolve conflict with compassion, communicate more clearly and effectively and experience deeper connection then this two and a half hour introductory workshop with point you in the right direction with practical tools to support you in handling challenging situations with friends, family or colleagues with respect and understanding. 

The workshop will explore:

  • The Powerful Role of Empathy – what it is, what it isn’t and how to put it to best use towards ourselves and towards others.
  • The framework of Non-Violent Communication Framework developed by Marshall Rosenberg based on the work of Carl Rodgers including the skills of observation, feelings, needs and making requests
  • How our habitual thought patterns or “stories” impact our lives and our communication with others
  • How to navigate your inner dialogue and transform blame, shame or self-criticism into compassionate self -understanding and develop a new level of conscious awareness  

This workshop can be run on demand when a minimum of 6 people express interest. Maximum 8 participants due to COVID-19 precautions.

Venue: 38a Seah Street, SG 188594 – in person

Financial Commitment: $150 per person

Click the link below to express interest

https://forms.gle/mnDtEPkBcasPnPyi9

The Gentle Art of Parenting Teens

Looking for a magic wand?

12 Hour Practical Workshop (3 hours per week for four mornings a week) : May 2021

I don’t claim that I have the magic wand – but if you are looking to brush up your skills and find some fresh strategies to use with your teenager, this could be the course for you.

Parenting is a skill we develop along the way and not something we are taught before the kids arrive. Becoming a parent might be the biggest personal development project you’ve ever undertaken – and one that you had no idea would push you to your limits on a regular basis! The Gentle Art of Parenting Teens course is a blend of personal and parenting development in a small setting, taught in person allowing for the crafting of personal strategies and insights that you can try out at home after each workshop.

The course draws on a multitude of resources and books, as well as courses and trainings that I’ve attended over the many years of being a parent, a school counselor and a therapist. It will give you practical skills as well as understanding of what works best and how to implement changes. It will challenge you to consider who you are as a parent and how to bring out the best in yourself so that you can parent as the highest version of yourself as often as possible. It provides practical skills and simple one-liners to manage conflict and disagreements gracefully. It focuses on building relationships using empathetic connection and firm boundaries and helps you to build the language needed to keep them in place.

Delivered in a small group setting (8 parents max) it will connect you to others seeking to build their parenting skills. It is a 12-hour course that runs over 4 weeks on Tuesday mornings. Participants need to commit to attendance at all four workshops.

Dates are as follows:

Tuesday 18th May 2021
Tuesday 25th May 2021
Tuesday 1st June 2021
Tuesday 8th June 2021

Time: 9:30am to 12:30pm

Venue: Anam Cara, 38a Seah Street, S.188493

Course designed and facilitated by Paula Huggins

Course Overview

Week 1: What’s Your Style?

  • What is discipline? And what are your parenting goals?
  • Identify your parenting style – this is more that just helicopter, big softie or authoritarian. Who are YOU and how does that influence your parenting style? And how does that style meet your child’s style of being?
  • Develop your approach based on self-knowledge and some simple strategies.
  • Understanding empathy and the impact of modelling firm but fair boundaries.

Week 2: The Developing Brain

  • Insights from the world of neuroscience to help understand the impact of discipline on the developing brain.
  • How empathic connection and active listening improve relationships, cooperation and have a positive impact on the brain.
  • Practice strategies to implement in the “real world”.

Week 3: Tantrums to Tranquility

  • Pro-active parenting – getting ahead of the wave
  • Language – learning that less is more when it comes to words
  • Boundaries – how to set them (and hold firm!)
  • More Practice

Week 4: Wrap It Up and Take It Home!

  • Self Care and Mindful Parenting: Our ability to care for others depends on our ability to care for ourselves.
  • Tailoring the strategies to fit your family
  • Even MORE practice

Investment

$475 per person for the 12 hour in-person course.

On successful registration of interest and invoice will be issued, payable by bank transfer or PayNow! Places will only be held once payment has been made.

The Gentle Art of Parenting

12 Hour Practical Workshop (3 hours per week for four mornings a week) : May 2021

Parenting is a skill we develop along the way and not something we are taught before the kids arrive. Becoming a parent might be the biggest personal development project you’ve ever undertaken – and one that you had no idea would push you to your limits on a regular basis! The Gentle Art of Parenting course is a blend of personal and parenting development in a small setting, taught in person allowing for the development of personal strategies and insights that you can try out at home after each workshop.

The course draws on a multitude of resources and books, as well as courses and trainings that I’ve attended over the many years of being a parent, a school counselor and a therapist. It will give you practical skills as well as understanding of what works best and how to implement changes. It will challenge you to consider who you are as a parent and how to bring out the best in yourself so that you can parent as the highest version of yourself as often as possible. It provides practical skills and simple one-liners to manage conflict and disagreements gracefully. It focuses on building relationships using empathetic connection and firm boundaries and helps you to build the language needed to keep them in place. Delivered in a small group setting (8 parents max) it will connect you to others seeking to build their parenting skills.

It is a 12-hour course that runs over 4 weeks on Friday mornings. Participants need to commit to attendance at all four workshops.

Dates are as follows:


Friday 14th May 2021
Friday 21st May 2021
Friday 28th May 2021
Friday 5th June 2021

Time: 9:30am to 12:30pm

Venue: Anam Cara, 38a Seah Street, S.188493

Course designed and facilitated by Paula Huggins

Course Overview

Week 1: What’s Your Style?

  • What is discipline? And what are your parenting goals?
  • Identify your parenting style – this is more that just helicopter, big softie or authoritarian. Who are YOU and how does that influence your parenting style? And how does that style meet your child’s style of being?
  • Develop your approach based on self-knowledge and some simple strategies.
  • Understanding empathy and the impact of modelling firm but fair boundaries.

Week 2: The Developing Brain

  • Insights from the world of neuroscience to help understand the impact of discipline on the developing brain.
  • How empathic connection and active listening improve relationships, cooperation and have a positive impact on the brain.
  • Practice strategies to implement in the “real world”.

Week 3: Tantrums to Tranquility

  • Pro-active parenting – getting ahead of the wave
  • Language – learning that less is more when it comes to words
  • Boundaries – how to set them (and hold firm!)
  • More Practice

Week 4: Wrap It Up and Take It Home!

  • Self Care and Mindful Parenting: Our ability to care for others depends on our ability to care for ourselves.
  • Tailoring the strategies to fit your family
  • Even MORE practice

Investment

$475 per person for the 12 hour in-person course.

On successful registration of interest and invoice will be issued, payable by bank transfer or PayNow! Places will only be held once payment has been made.

Intake Open for Sept 2021 Sandplay and Symbol Work Certificate

Certificate in Expressive Sandplay and Symbol Work

with children, adolescents and adults

12-Day Training Course
in-person in Singapore

Facilitator: Paula Huggins

Limited Number of Spaces Due to COVID-19 Regulations

Maximum 8 participants

2021 Course Dates

Attendance at all 12 days in the correct order is mandatory

Workshop One: 30 Aug – 1 Sept 2021 (Mon – Weds)
Foundation Skills

Workshop Two: 11-13 Oct 2021 (Mon-Weds)
From Theory to Practice

Workshop Three: 22-24 Nov 2021 (Mon-Weds)
Jungian Influences, Dream Work & Symbolic Expression

Workshop Four: 3-5 Jan 2022 (Mon-Weds)
Transpersonal Contexts and Supervision

To Register Your Interest Click Here

Venue
38a Seah Street
(S)188394

This ETIA course was created by Dr Mark Pearson and Dr Helen Wilson, authors of Sandplay and Symbol Work (ACER Press, 2001). It has been continuously taught around Australia for over 28 years, in S.E. Asia since 2006 as well as in the Czech Republic.

Sandplay Therapy is a hands-on, expressive counselling and psychotherapeutic modality that has been in use for over 80 years. Research shows it to be effective with children, adolescents and adults, in schools, hospitals, welfare agencies and private counselling practices. This course provides a thorough 12-day training, with practical experience and supervision in the ETIA approach to Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work. Expressive Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work bridges verbal therapy and the expressive somatic therapies, combining elements of each to become a powerful intervention for use by trained professionals.

Who Can Benefit?

This professional extension training program is designed for qualified practitioners (or those currently undergoing training) who work with adults, adolescents or children in a mental health or helping professions (such as social workers, counsellors, psychologists, pastoral care workers) and related fields (such as school teachers, learning support teachers, childcare/student care tutors, occupational or speech and language therapists) who wish to integrate sandplay therapy skills into the existing framework of their current practice, be it as a psychotherapist, counselor, social worker, teacher, nurse, artist or psychologist. Participants must already hold a relevant qualification allowing them to practice in their chosen field. This course is for professional and personal development. It does not qualify participants to work with clients without previous training in a professional field of work.

Be aware this course is highly experiential and involves hands-on practical experiences of exercises that will involve personal processing and growth.

The focus will be on the practical experience of sandplay therapy in a group setting suitable for both professional and personal development whilst providing a thorough overview of the approaches and techniques that allow practitioners to work with this modality in a therapeutic way.

Participants can expect to gain awareness of:

  • An overview of the history and development of Sandplay as a pyscho-therapeutic modality, including Jung, Lowenfeld, Kalff and Ammann’s contributions to the field.
  • Hands-on experience of Expressive Sandplay and Symbol Work in the group setting.
  • The tools of the trade: how to set up a Sandplay room and symbol collection.
  • How to facilitate Expressive Sandplay or Symbol Work sessions with respect for their clients’ process and the heritage of sandplay.
  • Integration of Expressive Sandplay therapy as a non-verbal theoretical approach through expressive role-play techniques.
  • The neuroscience that guides understanding of the psychological mechanisms supported by Sandplay.
  • Tracking Sandplay sessions and methods of note-keeping.
  • Research-based understanding of which populations most benefit from sandplay and awareness of contra-indications.
  • Various approaches to the progression of Sandplay sessions that allow client’s journey to be assessed.
  • Understanding transference and co-transference in the Sandplay session.
  • Expressive Sandplay as a support for Transpersonal Psychotherapy and its influences on the psyche.
  • Experience of Sandplay group/peer supervision.

Your Investment:

SG$ 3950 (from 30th July 2021 onwards)

Super Early Bird SG$3700 (until 30th June 2021)
Early Bird SG$3800 (until 29th July 2021)

To Register Interest Click Here

Payment Options: Via Cheque, Bank Transfer or PayNow.

A flexible payment plan ($1000 deposit, followed by monthly installments) is available. 

Included in this price: Workshop manuals, PDF version of the course text: Sandplay and Symbol Work by Mark Pearson and Helen Wilson (currently out of print), electronic Book of Readings, morning and afternoon tea.

Course Assignments

To complete the Certificate, participants are expected to submit three assignments: a short video recording of themselves facilitating a session (with a partner from the course – not an actual client); a 1500-word literature review essay; and a case study presentation in front of the group.

Cancellation Policy

We are unable to offer refunds if you are unable to attend for any reason. We appreciate that unexpected events do occur and so we allow participants to transfer to the next available course if needed – dependent upon availability in that course.

Successful Completion of the Certificate

The Certificate in Expressive Sandplay Therapy and Symbol Work is awarded to participants who:

  • Complete the course assignments in a timely manner to the required standard;
  • Hold a professional qualification that allows them to use the techniques taught on this course with a specific population; and
  • Miss no more than 7 hours of class time across the 12 days.

For those not meeting the above criteria, a Certificate of Participation will be given.

To Register Interest Click Here

Further Questions before you commit? Simply complete the form below and I will be in touch:

Expressive Therapies: addressing some common misconceptions

Expressive therapy provides a range of interactive, creative arts-based, projective techniques and interventions. It draws both on the principles of psychotherapy as well as the creative experience of the client to gain insight and to achieve growth, healing and integration.

There are a few common misconceptions about the work I do with clients that I’d like to highlight and address:

First of all, it is not just for children. I have personally worked with kids from as young as 5 years old through to fully-fledged adults in senior management positions. The important thing is not your age. It’s that you keep an open attitude and park your inner critic outside the room whilst allowing yourself to create and be free to play – with the sand, with figures, with colours, with movement, with sound.

I am not a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. I do not try to interpret the drawings or sandtrays, provide any kind of diagnosis or label based on the creation or provide clients with answers about “what they should do next” in their life. My aim is always to guide my client in the creation of something that has meaning for them, which might, in turn, allow them to gain some insight into their life situation or next steps. This may happen during the session or at a later stage as the process unfolds over a number of weeks.

It is not just for clients recovering from severe trauma. While sandplay therapy and expressive therapies have proved effective as a treatment for both trauma and mental health problems, it has also proven effective for those who are going through a life transition (post-natal, death of a beloved family member or friend, loss of a job, painful break-up of a relationship or divorce etc.) and would like to use it as a catalyst for the recovery of their sense of self.

It is not just for those who consider themselves “creative”. Creative ability is innate in humans. Sadly it often gets blocked as we grow up by the “shoulds and oughts” as we are pressured by the prevailing culture into leaving our playfulness behind. When we feel stuck in a life, or seem to have lost our sense of passion or purpose, it is often a lack of creative problem-solving that prevents us from seeing the way forward. Being conscious of your creative ability is not a requirement or a determinant in any way as to whether you will benefit from an expressive therapy sessions. In fact, sometimes, there is no activity involved in the session. My sessions are client-led; therefore, the decision of taking part in an expressive exercise is up to the client. Naturally, I will usually suggest an option for creative expression when I sense it might be helpful for my client.

The representation created facilitates further communication. It allows the creator to access parts of themselves that are not so easily accessible otherwise. As an expressive psychotherapist, I refer to these parts as coming from the sub-conscious or even the unconscious. Whatever is created, in the sand or on the page, reflects back at us both – you as the client and me as the therapist – and brings us into a deeper space, a sacred space ready to be gently and reverently explored and seen. It is this projective nature of expressive Sandplay and Symbol Work that affords us an opportunity to see ourselves outside of ourselves and to reflect upon what is seen.

This three-way relationship, between client, therapist and the creative process is a key element of the work. Clients often experience this approach as less threatening as it provides an indirect platform for discussion rather than addressing emotional problems in a straightforward verbal fashion. Let’s face it: it’s usually our own thinking patterns or entrenched beliefs or habits that got us stuck in an uncomfortable place – if telling someone what to do fixed the problem, or just talking about it solved things, it most likely would have been solved long before reaching my office!

What do you think?

Our thoughts shape the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. The biggest changes in my personal journey of growth came about when I began to recognize that the majority of the thoughts I was thinking weren’t actually true (big thank-you to Byron Katie’s The Work https://thework.com/). What?! Thoughts aren’t true?! That’s right. Most of us have a constant stream of thoughts running through our heads. It’s like watching the ticker-tape at the bottom of the screen on a TV news channel – mostly on red alert. And most of it is FAKE NEWS!

So what do you think? As I learned through various trainings in mindfulness practice, the majority of my thoughts (and probably yours too if you take time to notice) could be divided into two categories: reminiscing about the past and getting lost in regrets of “if-onlys” or bombarding myself with “what-ifs” and catastrophizing about some imagined form of dystopian-style future for myself or my children. Naturally, this meant I was existing in a perpetual state of stress and fear.

When I learned to step back, breath and examine the thoughts, I began to notice that there were a number of repetitious thought loops and common themes to my constant over-thinking. Using an activity called the Daily Pages from the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I became more aware of the habitual thoughts and patterns that were driving me. Caught up in these thought loops, which would then trigger corresponding feelings which in turn would create a deeper and deeper groove for the thought-train to run along. https://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

And so, the antedote?

Meditation. High on the list. I attended an 8 week MBSR training in Singapore led by Sheryl Bathman, http://integralmeditationasia.com/about/about-toby-ouvry/ as well as regularly attending various classes with Toby Ouvry http://integralmeditationasia.com/about/about-toby-ouvry/ and a few online courses. I attended a 10-day Vipassana Silent Retreat which – whilst challenging on many levels – really gave me a clearer understanding of the meaning of being present. https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/about/vipassana

Change the way that you talk to yourself about yourself in your head. Yes. I did this. It worked. I consciously forced (in a kind and loving way naturally!) myself to be kind to myself about myself. I created a loving mantra that I would repeat over and over in my head. If I could spend 40+ years allowing myself to be bullied by myself in my head, I would need to make a conscious effort to reverse it. And so, deliberately, I began with “I am happy, I am well and I am loved”. Trust me, it felt ridiculous at first, but my negative side (having been so dominant in my psyche for many years) wasn’t going to give up its space in my head that quickly or easily. Slowly, as the new habit built, my inner experience of myself and my automatic thinking habits began to change.

Focus on the good. Whatever has happened in your life, whatever your perception of those events, whatever your core beliefs about how the world works bringing your focus onto what is working, what is good, what is beautiful will bring about change. Gratitude and appreciation for the good will change you. If you wish to be inspired, watch Alice Hertz-Sommer, survivor of World War Two’s Holocaust explain, at the age of 108, her philosophy on how to live a long and happy life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnoQ8F_CUfE

So. What do YOU think?

Now Is The Time

There are many strengths, values, characteristics and habits we develop throughout our lives but among the most important for me right now are creativity, gratitude, simplicity, purpose, and resiliency. Now is the time to strengthen and draw on them all, in whatever capacity we can, in service of the greater good.

For me this means increasing time in contemplative prayer and meditation, online yoga classes, cooking nourishing foods for my family and focusing on the good that emerges in a crisis whilst still honouring the heaviness in my heart as I grieve for the world I knew before January 2020 and for those suffering illness and despair.

It also means letting go of some ways of showing up in the world, going more slowly than usual, accepting the limitations willingly, and considering more creative ways to be present for others as time passes.

What would resiliency look like for you? How are you using this time to reflect and let go of that which no longer serves?

#resiliency #wellbeing #beingwell #selfcare #strengths

Training Alert!

Sandplay and Symbol Work Certificate Course 2018/19 is starting soon in Singapore.  don’t miss this opportunity to build your therapeutic skills and learn from practicing therapist, senior lecturer and author Helen Wilson of the Expressive Therapies Institute of Australia (ETIA ).

DSCN2809 copy

The Certificate consists of  four 3-day workshops and will be hosted by Tanglin Trust School‘s Professional Development Centre in Singapore on the following dates:

Level One: 20th – 22nd June 2018

Level Two: 27th -29th  Nov 2018

Level Three 30th Jan – 1st Feb 2019

Level Four 6th – 8th March 2019

Specifically aimed at those already working in the helping professions such as Counsellors, Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Creative Arts Therapists, Social Workers, Youth Workers, and Chaplains, those who are simply curious to learn more about Sandplay and Symbol Work for their own personal growth and development are also welcome to join.

Participants with prior training in the helping professions will receive the Certificate in Sandplay Therapy & Symbol Work.  Those without a professional qualification will be awarded a Statement of Attendance.

The course is recognised by the Australian Creative Arts Therapies Association, and by the Australian Counselling Association, and a number of PACFA member associations, for professional development points.

For more details complete the form below:

 

 

 

Transformation

People reach out to me as a therapist when they feel stuck.   Something isn’t working. Something is wrong.  I’m suffering.  I’m in pain.  My heart is broken.  I feel so flat. Nothing seems to matter much to me any more.   I want my life to change.

Now, if you’ve being hanging around on Planet Earth for a few years you’ll know by now that the path through life isn’t guaranteed to be a smooth one and life for many people often involves pain, suffering, disappointment and misery at some point or the other. Often on the way to our dream life we find that something goes wrong, something gets lost in translation and life doesn’t quite work out the way we thought it was meant to. We can’t control what happens to us (no matter how much New Age Positive Thinking we do).  We can only control how we decide to respond to it.  How we allow it to shape us or define us.

Often people tell me that they want something different in their lives to the reality of what is.  And that is where their pain resides.  It is the gap between what is actually happening and what they wish was happening.  Trauma shapes the way we perceive the world around us, how we interpret social situations, how we translate events, and the narratives we create to keep ourselves safe. There are so many pieces to this puzzle of reality it is hard to know where to focus.  And it is our focus that transforms our experience of reality.

Often we claim we want to transform our lives but transformation involves surrender, acceptance and a willingness to change our story about who we are, what we believe about ourselves and what we think about the world around us.  We can’t demand that others change and expect not to do the work ourselves.

And yet, so often, what we say we want and what we are really open to are very different things.  Caroline Myss wrote a wonderful article on this topic that made me nod my head in agreement as I read it.  Click here to read it for yourself   As usual, she nails it.  So many of us claim we want to change but in reality?   Our ego tries to control and limit – as egos so often do.  “Dear God, Please change these things in my life, but only in ways that I won’t find too difficult or painful.  Don’t make me look at my Shadow, my role in creating this situation or how I might be contributing to or perpetuating my own pain.   Oh and please Dear God, make it all about other people and events and make sure that they change to make my life better.”   Hmmm.

So do you REALLY want to transform your life?  Are you REALLY ready to surrender? What are you willing to give up to undergo transformation?  Your ego?  Your point of view?  Your need to be right?  Your need to be a victim?  Your need to be the hero?  The rescuer?  Any transformation worth its salt must involve change.  It must also involve death. Yes death!  Death of the old way of being, the old way of seeing, speaking, thinking, acting and the birth of the new.  Ego death.  There are many archetypal representations of this energy.   One of my favourites is the Hindu Goddess Kali.  Kali is one of many goddesses from ancient cultures that represent the cycle of life, death and rebirth.  Kali is a demon-slayer.  The goddess Durga is attempting to kill the demon Raktabija but with every wound she inflicts on him, more demons are spawning as his blood drips onto the ground.  Kali comes to Durga’s aid, preventing the demon army from spawning by catching the drops of Raktabija’s blood on her lolling tongue before they are able to take root in the Earth and multiply.  She brings an end to suffering by facing the enemy, preventing the negativity from taking root and multiplying.   She slaughters the remaining demons and dances on their corpses.  Only when Shiva lays himself beneath her feet can she shake off her destructive dance and become calm again.

Only when we are willing to engage with the determination and ferocity of the archtypal Kali to face our inner demons, and stop our repetitive negative “stinking thinking” (as they call it in the 12-step programme) can we begin our transformation.   As author and teacher Tosha Silver writes, Kali is the embodiment of a ferocious love, a love of the Self, and a willingness to stand against the Ego’s games and take no prisoners!

My favourite authors on this topic:

Byron Katie “Loving What Is”
Tosha Silver “Outrageous Openness”

And, of course, anything and everything by Caroline Myss!