Jane Giddings MNCP (Snr Accred), BACP, CTHA, Fellow of FHT
Jane is a full time therapist. She works with a lot of teenagers and children with anger issues, anxiety and panic attacks. One of the most effective treatments that she has found is our stress cards, which she finds amazing, as she has found these to be an excellent tool in helping mood swings and they help young people build up their self-esteem. Jane explains, that when we are stressed, our bodies go into the fight or flight response and the blood rushes to the vital organs and leaves our hands cold. In comparison, when we are relaxed, our hands are warm and comfortable. All of these changes show up on our scientifically based stress material, consisting of stress cards and stress/mood dots. The young people really enjoy using them and have found that they help them to control their stress levels, which they find extremely empowering. Jane has found great benefit in the products, which she describes as 'amazing'. She certainly recommends them to anybody who suffers from stress.
Jane's story was published in the autumn 2012 edition of VTCT News – www.vtct.org.uk and we reproduce it in part below
THERAPY FOR OFFENDERS - Using complementary therapies to help young offenders
Jane incorporates traditional therapy and counselling techniques with complementary therapies such as Indian head massage, Reiki and reflexology with aims to not only relax the young people she works with, but also to reduce aggression and tension and to create harmony within the session.
Jane tells us how she finds working with and helping young offenders:
“Initially, I found my role very challenging, with considerable responsibility. However, as I noticed the great changes in the young people’s attitudes and behaviours, the work became extremely rewarding. I feel very proud and privileged to be given this opportunity at Ashfield, to help improve the young people’s futures and the capacity for young people to initiate self-change, giving them a toolbox of skills for life.”
Jane has been working with young people for over 15 years in youth clubs, schools and secure units and with children of all ages who have a wide variation of behavioural issues for over a decade. Four years ago she also worked with the ‘Lads and Dads’ scheme funded by children’s charity Barnardo’s, showing young offenders, who are fathers, how to calm their babies by using baby massage. Jane also taught ‘Cycles of Change’ in classrooms – a programme related to knife and gang related crime. During the last two years Jane has covered intervention and one-to-one sessions and says the success of the combination of all the different methods shows how they enable the young people to relax, open up and develop self-awareness and emotional literacy. Using complementary therapies to help young offenders.
Jane Giddings, owner
and principal of the
School of Excellence
in South Gloucestershire has
taken an innovative approach
to counselling. Working with
young offenders at Ashfield
Young Offenders Institution,
Jane has introduced the use
of complementary therapies
as an aid to her therapy
sessions and has seen a vast
improvement in the troubled
teens she has set out to help.
One main therapy technique used by Jane is Indian head massage - the results of this approach show a decline in aggressive behaviour and report that the young people feel calmer and more able to cope with daily stresses, also a reduction in adjudications, fights and bad comments were noted. Indian head massage is very successful in helping the young people to physically relax and feel less inclined to fight and be aggressive; it also helps to reduce anxiety, insomnia and feelings of depression.
Another approach commonly used by Jane is the use of Reiki combined with massage; this helps to restore the balance, which aids Jane in creating harmony and a truly relaxing therapy experience.
She uses these techniques for five minutes at the end of each session, meaning that the young people leave the session in a positive, calm state of mind.
Jane also takes the opportunity to teach the young people how to treat themselves using hand reflexology. This gives them the skills to remedy minor ailments, such as headaches or toothache. The young people reported that they used this technique often and it gave them something positive to focus on while spending long periods of time alone - as some of the them were in solitary confinement, and although they commented that this approach helped pass the time away and comfort them, it also helped them stay positive, alert and engaged in learning.
Alongside these complementary therapies Jane uses approaches such as; therapy through art, song, poetry and rap, hypnosis, acupressure, meditation, visualisation, self esteem building, forgiveness and moral guidance.
It is the combination of these styles along with the complementary therapy techniques coupled with a traditional take on counselling that has proven so successful with the young offenders. “During the sessions, I encouraged the young people through a variety of means to discuss their feelings and their lives. They were very open and talked in detail about their families, friendships and gang culture. This enabled them to reflect on their situation and see their errors clearly. This was sometimes a painful experience but it really did help them see what went wrong and how they can change and put their lives right.”
Jane’s colleagues at Ashfield are so impressed with her work for the institution that they have nominated her for a prestigious Butler Trust Award. The annual awards ceremony promotes excellence in prisons, probation and youth justice and is supported by the trust’s Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.
This unique style of therapy has proven incredibly successful and has allowed the young people with whom Jane works to be able to gain the support that had often lacked as they were growing up, and has enabled them to develop the self-confidence required to take up the opportunities to expand their emotional, personal and educational skills that will assist them in the long-term.
“ I encouraged the young people to discuss their feelings and their lives. They were very open and talked in detail about their families, friendships and gang culture. This enabled them to reflect on their situation and see their errors clearly.”
‘This was included in the autumn 2012 edition of VTCT News – www.vtct.org.uk'