I am a widely experienced Educational Psychologist, who has specialised in promoting emotional well-being for most of my career, notably for those who have suffered trauma, loss and multiple adverse experiences. After training at Surrey and Southampton Universities, I worked for Hampshire County Council as a main grade EP, senior EP, then as County CAMHS Strategy Manager, jointly with the local NHS Trust.
In 2009 I took up post as Healthy Minds Team manager in Windsor and Maidenhead,
establishing an innovative multi-disciplinary tier 2 mental health team bridging the gaps
between local services and the Specialist CAMHS team. Whilst there I lead the Targeted
Mental Health in Schools Program. More recently I have been working as an independent
EP in schools near my home in Hampshire, undertaking occasional case work for
Portsmouth City Council and disseminating training in the CRRES model of therapeutic
assessment to EPs across the UK.
Whilst a main grade EP I undertook further post graduate training in Humanistic
Psychotherapy at the Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education. I found concepts
within Gestalt and Transactional Analysis therapy particularly useful in understanding
some of the less comprehensible behaviours that clients engage in. These were built
upon by the advances in neurological research showing the impact of adverse childhood
experiences, including relational trauma, on children's behaviour in school.
Given that distressing life experiences and their related assumptions and understandings
are stored differently to other less emotionally laden memories, but revisiting some
elements of them in assessment is frightening, we might expect that different
additional means of assessment are needed. This became my area of practice based
research. I discovered the astounding potential for creative expression and symbolic
representation to enable communication of complex, often painful beliefs, understandings and feelings that
were locked away inside, out of awareness, so as to get on with daily life. I experienced this personally as an adult, when in role as client within supervised facilitation sessions during training, as did my fellow students, lending the approach an undeniable validity, and spurring me on to apply the approach in my work with clients. The creative trauma-informed assessment approach that emerged proved highly effective with students, their parents/carers and both informative and popular amongst school staff.
Prior to writing the CRRES model of therapeutic assessment training for EPs, I wrote and delivered many professional development courses, including:
6 Masters level post graduate modules on SEMH for school senior managers and pastoral staff, accredited through the University of Winchester,
A highly successful training program in counselling skills for head-teachers and senior pastoral staff,
A menu of day courses for teachers focused on supporting troubled children in the classroom.
For several years I was an associate tutor on the EP training course in Manchester University, and I have presented at several national and regional Educational Psychology and mental health conferences.
I published my findings on the fusion between EP practice and Humanistic arts psychotherapy in the paper “Using art and play in assessment and intervention for troubled children”. (See Barwick N. Ed (2000) Clinical Counselling in Schools, London: Routledge).
I have now delivered the CRRES therapeutic assessment training to 5 local authority EP services, and have run 2 regional courses for individual EPs to apply to. Having experienced the abiding value that therapeutic assessment has added to my own practice, and the excitement with which it is received by others, I am looking forward to sharing it further.