Category Archives: Inspire Health and Mind
Here’s a little update on what we’ve been up to.
Jeanette has been busy with various meetings and service user groups as well as studying hard for her Open University exams in May.
I’ve been working closely with T2A which is a project for young people (18-25) making the transition from Youth Offending Teams to adult Probation. They provide support around education, employment, housing, health, activities and other ongoing inteventions. I have been seeing young people for one to one sessions to help them around their general well being and/or drug & alcohol use. As well as giving them an opportunity to talk about their issues they have been able to benefit from EFT. Initially it is a strange concept for them but they soon understand when they feel more relaxed and are amazed with how it can reduce the intensity of their feelings to a point where they can think much more clearly about things that have been affecting them. It’s helped them for issues such as cravings for cigarettes, Alcohol and Cannabis as well as their feelings around family relationships and their future aspirations. We’re lucky to have been asked to continue this work for the forseeable future and help support more people at a difficult stage in their lives.
Today I went to Kajan‘s with T2A staff for a feedback session on the health programme some of the young people have been attending over the last couple of weeks. This included a two hour drugs awareness workshop from us and other activities and information sessions on sexual health etc.
Kajans is a social enterprise working in the community to engage young people. There was a performance of ”The Long Weekend’ which deals with hard hitting issues and the acting skills of the young performers were inspiring. We also had a tour of the building which is a renovated Victorian building in Aston. They have a Dance Studio, Kitchens for Cookery, plenty of space for larger events, training and much more.
We have a few other things in the pipeline too delivering Drug Training for staff working with young people with behavioural difficulties as well introducing EFT for Recovery into an Alcohol service and a Residential rehab.
Information on the ‘Supporting People Affected By Substance Misuse Course’ we’ll be running in conjuction with Training for People for ten days beween June and November can be found here and you can contact us for more information. We’re hoping to get a nice mix of staff from different agencies to make it an enjoyable and useful experience.
Wishing you all a sunny and happy Easter break.
The Home Office have been piloting a blog asking for comments on the new Drug Strategy.
David Oliver has asked for comments on drug education and I have posted my own response which has now actually been published on it. The link is here
or you can read my comments below…..
Stacey Smith said
March 15 2011 10.20
I have been involved in delivering both drug education and treatment to young people over the last eleven years. The main points I wish to share are as follows:
Without a statutory framework I see it as an injustice to our young people that they aren’t given consistent approaches to something that could affect their lives so adversely. This is more difficult when the messages we receive generally in society are also so inconsistent and confusing. E.g Take this pill to change how you’re feeling but not that one, these drugs are bad and they’re illegal, some of these drugs are worse but they are legal. I’ve seen teachers giving completely biased and inaccurate information which discredits any actual messages that are delivered thereafter.
Drug education needs to be delivered and linked tightly with emotional literacy and lifeskills as within the SEAL approach. If young people are better supported with their emotional health then this decreases the risk factors associated with drugs including alcohol.
Willingness and competency
Whilst some teachers are very competent, the majority either do not want to deliver what they feel to be a difficult taboo subject or they have limited time and training opportunities to do so. We wouldn’t put an untrained Maths teacher in front of a class so why are we allowing teachers to deliver a subject they know nothing about?
As well as for mainstream pupils but in particularly for those considered ’disaffected’ or ’vulnerable’ the information given by a teacher is not going to be absorbed (if they are there!) It is not going to be real to them.
I also believe there is a lot more value in informal drug education within youth settings and giving parents more access to attend sessions about drugs including alcohol.
Lack of targetted information
The generic FRANK campaign is not targetting the most vulnerable young people. Telling a 16 year old that Cannabis makes you sick when he has been smoking it since he was 12 isn’t helpful. There is great literature being produced out there (Lifeline, HIT) but often the agencies I work with would not have the funding to be able to purchase them.
A combination of teacher training, outside speakers, parents and most importantly a statutory framework for ALL schools would help.
Let’s give our future generations a better chance to succeed by crediting them with honest information and support.
Since setting up Inspire Health and Mind in 2009 particularly last year we spent a lot of time working on our marketing materials especially with regards to the awareness work with young people in schools and training staff in the community. My plan for this year was to expand the EFT side of the work I do and as well as EFT for all, EFT for Recovery. I decided that the best way would be to set up EFT for Recovery as part of Inspire Health and Mind but as a Community Interest Company (CIC). I figured this may mean I could reach and therefore help more people in the community.
The CIC status came through last week which I was chuffed about and now it’s about getting the message out there. I’m lucky to have really great contacts locally due to my previous DAAT role as well as nationally thanks to lovely Twitter. It’s great now I can really get the ball rolling. I had/have a fear that people would feel I was bandwagon jumping on the Recovery agenda. Speaking to someone yesterday (who knows who he is) I felt much better about this. I know I’m doing this for all the right reasons. Those that volunteer for me and the service users I have had the pleasure of supporting and working with also know what I’m all about. My background shows my passion for helping people to recover from dependency and challenging the attached stigma. EFT helps people more holistically in that it can help with all aspects of someone’s life that needs improving. I think I’m trying to justify myself too much here. There are plenty of EFT Practitioners out there but not so many who are as willing to work with a client group perceived to be more challenging, maybe even less worthy. In fact I found one EFT forum with someone who said that working with ‘addicts’ would be ‘professional suicide’! Errrrr what?? I shan’t start a rant but I’m sure you can guess what I think of that.
Masha Bennett is well worth checking out in the professional sense as she is an international trainer who has done some great work with EFT for addictions, recovery and with women in custody. She enhances the credibility of EFT as a technique as she is also a well respected psychotherapist and an NLP Master.
Here‘s a good Wired In article to have a read of which shows her in action.
You can see my own post about why I chose EFT as a technique to learn here.
Why try EFT to support Recovery?
- Deals with a lot of issues that can be experienced by someone with a previous or current dependency and common emotions such as; Anxiety, Guilt, Fear, Sadness, Grief as well as helping to quickly alleviate cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
- Encourages positive and forward thinking, great for motivation, goal setting and removing the barriers and limiting beliefs which hold people back.
- It works a lot quicker than other forms of talk therapies and complementary therapies.
- EFT can be used as a self help tool, which can be empowering and allow the person to be back in control, something that those learning to lead healthier, happier lifestyles will find useful.
So we’re on the lookout for:
- People with current or past dependency on Drugs including Alcohol who want to try something new and fun
- People affected by the drug or alcohol use of a loved one
- Service user groups both in the community and attached to treatment agencies
- Drug & Alcohol treatment agencies looking for something new to offer to support positive outcomes
If you are any of the above then do get in touch and see the info flyer here.
This is a special guest post from my volunteer and friend Jeanette who has kindly written this to share her own recovery story. She volunteered supporting the training I delivered whilst working for Birmingham DAAT and now I’m pleased to say for my very own Inspire Health and Mind. Having someone with real life experience involved in training people to understand is so valuable and Jeanette is another example of why anyone with a dependency past or present should be given opportunities and never be given up on.
“Write something for the blog” says Stacey!! Hmmmm, now then where should I begin?
Well, my name is Jeanette, I am 51 years old, a recovering alcoholic, and have been dry for just about 2 years and 6 months.
I shied away from the word ‘recovery’ for a really long time, the reason being, in my mind an alcoholic never recovers, the best we can hope for is to ‘control it’. Then I did an Open University course on mental health, and found out what ‘in recovery’ actually meant. Basically it is used to describe a life that’s becoming an improvement on the past, a life that has quality. I can live with that….so now I agree, ‘I am in recovery’ and loving it.
I couldn’t say that recovery really began for the first 2 years though, that was a time where I had a lot of trial and error with ‘life and identity’…coming out of an addiction that has been a large part of you for a very, very long time, coming to terms with the things you have done and said, and the hurt you have caused leaves an almighty empty space inside…..I was a person without goals or purpose, an empty shell needing to be filled, a personality waiting to develop…..
Well here I am, on my 4th OU course (working with children, young people and adults) and volunteering with Stacey’s Inspire Health and Mind. My life is full of new experiences and new goals, I am learning about things that I never would have even dreamed about…because they weren’t important in my life, the bottle was my life…. I’m using my experiences of alcohol and addiction to create awareness of the ease with which addiction can take over…..it moves in when you’re not looking and it doesn’t ever want to leave. Doing what I do makes my past a little easier to bear….without it, I wouldn’t be able to share a story that so many are afraid to tell….as for my future? Who knows what’s next, I don’t, but I do know I will embrace the challenges and changes that may come my way, not hide from them behind a bottle…
An inspiration I’m sure you’ll all agree. What she didn’t mention is that she was nominated and won the DAAT Award for outstanding contribution in November too. I’ve finally convinced Jeanette to join Twitter so you can follow her @JeanetteSiret.
Peace, love, empathy,
Some of you may know that as well as my Drug & Alcohol Training I’m also an Advanced EFT Practitioner.
Here’s a bit more about it and my reasons for doing it.
EFT was developed from a similar technique called Thought Field Therapy. It is an Energy Psychology and put simply is a combination of tapping on points of the body. Sounds a bit strange? Well yes, initally I did too when I first experienced it over two years ago now.
Never being one much for ‘out there’ fairy land ideas I hadn’t even heard of EFT so I has no preconcieved ideas. Whilst at a friend’s random tarot evening (another thing I am still unsure about) the bearded older man who had read our cards was just about to leave and was giving out his business cards. I saw on it that he helped with phobias amonst other things. The question I asked next would prove to be an important one.
‘What do you do for phobias?’. (Not realising what I was letting myself in for!)
Now, if you thought I was strange before then you definitely will now.
‘Eggs’, I told him.
Now I think people use the term phobia quite lightly sometimes. My phobia was a true phobia. Even someone talking about eggs would make me heave or even sick. I couldn’t even say the words ‘boiled egg’ or ‘fried egg’ without a physical reaction.
He took my hand with no explanation and started tapping it. I remember in my head immediately thinking…
‘I bloody hope there’s no eggs in the fridge!’
He tapped on my head and on my face and asked me to repeat sentences and after a couple 0f minutes asked how I felt. I realised that I had relaxed. Well, to cut a long story short, within five miuntes I was actually holding a dreaded egg in my hand. (There had been eggs in that bloody fridge). I can’t repeat the words I used to indicate my amazement that it had worked but needless to say I was freaked out. Before that experience there was no way I could even begin to even think that I would hold an egg EVER!
I’m not saying my phobia was completely cured in that short time but massive progress had been made. EFT can in a lot of cases work much more quickly than other therapies and techniques. I decided whilst lying in bed that night that I wanted to be able to do that for other people and found out more about EFT and its uses. Weirdly the next day I had a Facebook request from and old school friend who turned out to own a Coaching business with her partner and they offered EFT Training. The rest, as they say, is history. As part of my training I was able to continue to delve into my phobia as well as all sorts of other issues. Due to my background in substance use I knew that it would work for that too hence I have now set up EFT for Recovery as part of Inspire Health and Mind.
I’ve had an interesting and inspiring month of opportunities, events and new contacts. Here is what I’ve been up to.
1) My random TV debut!
I had a random phone call a couple of Tuesdays ago from Brit Asia TV asking me if I wanted to be their drug expert on their discussion show Real Talk. I said I’d call them back. I nearly bottled it but thought, ‘what the heck’ so that same night I trundled off to Apache’s Bar in Birmingham to be filmed. I met Apache Indian who was very nice and alongside Ricky, my sidekick who I co-deliver training with we sat there being asked questions and responding to discussion points made by others in the audience. It was a nerve wracking experience. When it was shown on the Thursday I went round to my Uncle’s house with my partner and family to watch as it was on Sky Channel 833. (We haven’t got Sky). I came across quite well in what I said which was the main thing but of course I wasn’t too happy with my accent or face, haha. A good experience all the same.
2) On the same day I also found out I had won a competition through HiWeCanHelp, a Northern service who help people affected by drugs.
I had applied a few weeks before by telling them about my work and my blog but I didn’t think anything would come of it. I am now really excited that I will be able to attend the National Conference for Injecting Drug Use in Newcastle next week, all expenses paid (useful now I’ve left work and will only get paid by invoice chasing!). It’ll be great to meet some of the contacts I have on Twitter in real life. I’ll be blogging about it too so watch this space
3) After two and a half years working as a trainer for Birmingham Drug and Alcohol Action Team I left to go freestyle (as I like to call it) to concentrate on developing Inspire Health and Mind. I did a lot and learnt a lot during my time there including writing the DART Guide and the E-learning package as well as all the courses I developed and delivered. Now I need to spread my wings, get out there and focus on all the areas of work I love in the community including my drug awareness work with young people, training staff, supporting service user involvement and spreading the word about EFT.
4) Lynette and I attended a talk by Daniel Priestley on how to be a Key Person of Influence. He is a highly successful entrepreneur and his talk focused on the importance of social media.
5) I’ve met so many new people at the events above and below I things it’s worth a mention in itself. I really buzz off getting out and about and seeing what other people are doing out there. I’m hoping some of these contacts will shape the next few months for me and allow me to have new challenges and work to focus on.
6) I had the opportunity to hear the brilliantly inspiring Harry Singha and Rachel Leigh presenting at the Youth Coaching Academy Midlands Event. Young people, staff and parents altogether engaging and learning about how to make a difference to their lives and the lives of others. I will write more about this soon.
7) Attending the launch of Park House, the new residential treatment service in Birmingham. You can see my post about it here.
So that was September, who knows what October will bring.
Peace, love, empathy.
I’ve not blogged for a while for the following reasons:
1) I’ve been busy busy with the business and some exciting planning which I can’t quite talk about yet but watch this space. Excel has been my buddy for a few weeks now.
2) Tweeting has taken over more of my life. It’s so great! Follow me!
3) The Election – I’m a proper grown up now so I have followed the Election for the first time. May blog my thoughts on it if I have time. Basically pissed off so many voted Tory though.
I shall endeavour to find some time and inspiration over the weekend .
Have a good one.
Peace, love, empathy.
Some of you will know that in October I joined forces with my ex work colleague and friend Lynette to set up a business called Inspire. We have combined our skills and experiences and are offering Drug Awareness and Training, Complementary Therapies and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). We spent the months up to the New Year getting all of our marketing materials sorted and since then we have been steadily growing. This Easter weekend we exhibited for the first time at the White Light Mind, Body & Spirit Festival in Solihull.
We had to get there quite early for a Saturday. I enjoyed the quietness of the roads until I hit Blossomfield Road and the new speed cameras! The event was at a really good venue called Cranmore Park in Shirley, Solihull. I met Lynette there and Lindsey also came along to help us. Lindsey Cheers of Couture Designs fame designed all of our marketing materials as well as our website (with techy support and advice from Dave CompMagic). If you ever need anything designing, or need a new website then contact them, they are both brilliant!
It took a while for us to get the stand looking right. Think there must be a joke in there somewhere. How many blondes does it take to set up an exhibiton stand? Apparently three. Anyway, this was the finished product.
As this was a Mind Body Spirit Event there were a variety of different exhibitors. Our friends Jason and Louise from Discover Serenity were there as were Jo and Rob from Meta Medicine who trained Lynette and I as EFT Practitioners. There were also stands offering psychic readings, incense, crystals, Buddhas for sale, massage demos, energy healing demos and lots of other weird and wonderful things. Part of me is still a cynic about some things but I was determined to keep an open mind. If something works and helps someone then it’s all cool to me. I did end up going to one of the talks but I have to confess it was all a bit lala land for me and I came out before the demonstration started. I’m sure she was a really lovely lady and is helping a lot of people but it was a bit too far out for me.
We have been lucky enough to have had a lot of support from our friends and family and I was chuffed that a lot of people came to see me. On Saturday my Mom came along with my Nan, Auntie Linda and my little cousin Becky. Between them they bought two head massagers, crystals and my Nan had a food sensitivity test. Even my Dad came in the morning to have a browse around and he bought an amethyst. My brother Rick and his girlfriend came with some of her family too. I think he especially liked the camp looking psychic, haha. My mother in law Pam and her cousin Wendy came and they went to a few talks, one about past life regression!
On Sunday, day two it was somewhat quieter but the interest was consistent. We met so many lovely people. Lynette is a healer and she often gets this funny thing out and dangles it (she’ll love this ) and until yesterday I had never really asked what it was all about. Turns out it was a crystal dowser. You can ask it questions (as long as it’s a yes or no anwser) and it gives you the answer. Initially I thought it was a load of rubbish but she demonstrated it to me and I was a bit freaked out by the results! Hence I went over to the nice man who sold them and got one for myself. Here it is.
JB came to see us and bought me a sandwich for my lunch. He isn’t the most open minded so I think he was both amused and bemused by a lot of the other stands but it was nice that he came to show his support (and the ham and brie sandwich was nice too). Surprise of the day was my mate Nid randomly turning up to see what it was all about. He left with a dowser himself (after he was also surprised by how it seemed to just work!) and necklaces for his Mom and girlfriend.
It was so interesting to speak to all the different types of people there. I’d expected it to be full of older females but there was a mixture of ages and also a lot more men than I thought there would be. One I met was a pagan druid. Interesting conversation!
Overall we had a great weekend, although we were tired and hungry by the end of it all. A lot of people will have our details now and time will tell if the event was all worth it. I think it will have been.
Peace, love, empathy