The Basket Weavers

My Great Grandfather was part of the Occupational Therapy movement during the Second World War working in a hospital in Scotland supporting the rehabilitation of soldiers. The profession first came about during world war 1 when it was observed that injured soldiers who were tasked with activities, such as basket weaving, had better treatment outcomes than those who were left to recover with bed rest. When occupied in meaningful activities that we need, want or are expected to do proved to enable us to maintain wellbeing and support recovery. And so Occupational Therapy was born. We’ve been nicknamed ‘The Basket Weavers’ ever since. I quite like how the French refer to the profession ‘artisanes de votre liberté’ – artisans (craftsmen/women) of your liberty.

I’ll be celebrating my 20th year in the profession this July so I thought I’d do a post about this little known profession. When I say little known this in unlikely to be the case if you or a loved one has had a health crisis. If this is the case, you will certainly have become aware of our profession within hospitals, community health provision and social services. We are the people who support safe discharges, assess ability to go home, run practical, activity based sessions to build and strengthen skills to support peoples rehabilitation journeys. We support people to live their lives independently, in alignment with their values. During my career as an Occupational Therapist I only ever worked with people in crisis. The possibilities of self-referral were limited within the structures that I was employed within.

Through The Wellbeing Atelier I have been able to realise a dream of developing an Occupational Therapy program available to all, supporting people to live to their full potential. To begin with I ran the Mindfulness and Mindful Compassion Meditation Ateliers, monthly afternoon retreats and have recently begun offering Goal Setting and Vision Board Ateliers. In addition to the groups I also have a small individual caseload, working both in person and online. Over the coming year I will be offering a wider variety of ateliers around a range of different wellbeing themes, such as a sober curious atelier, a pain management course and a carers group. Some will be one off stand alone sessions, others monthly and also a series of courses that run for 4-8 weeks. I am aiming to make as much of the content available online as well as in person, and from September sessions will be offered in both French and English.

Setting up in private practice has been a daunting process but exciting. I miss my clients and colleagues but love not having to go to meetings about meetings. Crafting my own ateliers around the needs of those who reach out and also my own specialities and interests is very rewarding. It’s still early days and I am continuing to learn and grow, if there are any ateliers you would like me to offer please get in touch via jaddufourd@icloud.com.

You can read more about Occupational Therapy from the Royal College of Occupational Therapy here or Association Nationalité des Française Ergothérapeutes ici.

The New Goal Setting and Vision Board Ateliers

I am delighted to have started running Goal Setting and Vision Board Ateliers. Having facilitated groups and individual sessions like this throughout my career as an Occupational Therapist, I know how much of a difference these tools and techniques can have in improving the quality of peoples lives. They’ve certainly made a difference to my own (the vision board above is one I created last May).

Goal Setting and Vision Boards at The Wellbeing Atelier 

We begin with introductions and exploring what your ideal life would look like, what do you really want, you’re encouraged to be adventurous, with child like playfulness, we will endeavour to add pieces of this ideal into your daily life. For example, bear with me on this, mine would be to be a ballerina. My own exploration of this pulls out my admiration for the beauty and discipline of the sport and I have crafted both of these into my daily routines as I am fully aware I will never be the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Performing my clunky pirouettes in the kitchen is always possible mind you…

So having thought of your wildest idea and dream, we then move through some questions together about your goals, where you want to be in 5 years and what you need to be doing daily in order to get there. Through this exploration stage we also look at victories, gratitude and the challenges you face. Listening, sharing ideas and exploring together creates such a powerful space to be heard, encouraged and supported. 

Now comes the fun bit (for some, not all), with a blank piece of paper, pens, crayons books and magazines at your disposal we create a visual reminder and prompt that you take with you as a focus point for your goals. Creating something that can be put up at home or perhaps photographed and used as a screen saver to remind you for that month of what you carved out as a vision for your life.

The following month you are invited to have a look at your vision board and check in with your progress, your victories, your successes and the challenges you faced. Regularly doing this can be very helpful in keeping you on track. This is why I’ve set up the monthly group, as a space for people to come back to at regular intervals to talk through the process, refine the goals made and get the support and encouragement of others to get you to where you want to be. 

The dates for the next introductory session will be 18th February and 10th March 2020. You can find more information and additional dates for the Introductory and Follow up groups here. I am also offering individual, 1 hour goal setting and vision board ateliers via Skype or in person for 30€. The outcomes are always so different and interesting, it will be such a pleasure to guide you through this technique. You can read more about me and my work here.