A two-year study into words for wellbeing has concluded that practitioners need new structures for training and supervision in order to work with vulnerable people. The study, commissioned by Lapidus International, suggests that training opportunities are needed in the areas of safety, safeguarding and supervision.
The report, written by Prof. Tony Wall of Chester University and Richard Axtell from Lapidus, argues that ‘transition spaces’ should be created to educate and raise awareness and reflection among practitioners. Prof. Wall said at the launch today (Saturday, 18th January): “There are gaps in knowledge that can be filled in a positive and gradual way. We can put structures in place such as CPD, supervision and recognition of skills and all this will build credibility among leaders of creative groups.”
Prof. Wall, who consulted people around the world in the course of the study, believes it’s a fine balancing act between supporting the empowerment of marginalised groups in order to tell their stories publicly and freely and the need for words for wellbeing groups to be contained and safely held by competent facilitators.
Asked about the current explosion of interest in creative arts and their potential for improving mental health, Prof. Wall cited two factors: “More awareness that people around us are becoming more ‘ill,’ and a recognition throughout society including at governmental level that creativity brings more meaning, satisfaction and wellbeing into our lives.” He also acknowledged that the ‘poetic register’ can be a powerful alternative to consumerism.
Dr Clare Scott, Lapidus’s Chair during the research period, added: “We would like to thank the TS Eliot Foundation for funding this consultation research across the creative writing, education, health and therapy sectors to find out what is truly needed. The work has led to confirmation that we need to develop specific standards for professional understanding and investigate ways of enabling resilient, flexible practices, whilst also valuing the skills, knowledge and wisdom that members bring to the experience of using words for wellness.”
Prof. Wall’s new Creative Practices for Wellbeing Framework was created with support of The TS Eliot Foundation, TS Eliot’s Old Possum's Practical Trust, and the University of Chester. The project used participatory practices over a two-year period and engaged over 50 different roles from the arts, health, business, charities and third sector organisations, and government. In addition to the new Creative Practices for Wellbeing Framework, 19 points which need wider intervention emerged from the detailed analysis of the consultation responses.
The report is translated into 18 languages which can be accessed here: www.lapidus.org.uk/report
And in English and Welsh: