Faz for Website

Faz's story

Volunteering for Place2Be helped 29-year-old trainee art therapist Faz expand her horizons as a therapist. She explains why she thinks Place2Be’s work is so crucial.

When I was 14 and going through some difficult times, I saw my first in a series of counsellors. Her supportive approach has really stuck with me and continues to inspire my own work 15 years later.

After school I was eager to support children going through their own difficult times. I studied Psychology, worked for the charity ChildLine and did a stint in a school as a teaching assistant.

However, it was seeing an art therapist that put me on my current path. I had loved making art as a child but my parents didn’t see it as the basis of a viable ‘career’ and always encouraged me to become a doctor or solicitor instead. Nevertheless, the creativity and freedom of rediscovering art helped me to come out of the dark place I was in and I decided I would support others to do the same.

When I started my master’s degree in Art Therapy, I needed a counselling placement to fulfil my required hours. Place2Be was the perfect organisation for an aspiring therapist like me, trying to find my place. They recognised that every child was different and might therefore need different kinds of counselling. Their therapeutic approach was informed by lots of different perspectives, so I could practice art therapy but expand my horizons too. And they offered the kind of regular, expert supervision which would allow me to reflect on sessions and return with new insights.

The initial training was daunting but great. Like a child having their first counselling session, I was anxious! And the role play, where we were encouraged to pair up and listen to our partner talk in silence, was surprisingly awkward. But I learned that creating that space would help me build trust with children, some of whom had been through traumatic experiences and really needed it, especially if they didn’t have anyone else to talk to.

One 9-year-old girl I work with is lonely and doesn’t have her parents around, but uses one-to-one counselling as an opportunity to be creative and free – singing, acting, making art. So we designed a mood board together which has helped her gradually open up about her struggles.

Place2Be teams are great at seeing children as soon as possible and finding ways to reach them. As a result they’re respected and held in very high regard by school staff. Above all, though, Place2Be helped me to discover that my passion was a viable career after all!

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Craig's story

Craig's teacher referred him to Place2Be because he was always involved in fights in the playground