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A Quiet Place

by Penelope Moon(more info)

listed in mind matters, originally published in issue 63 - April 2001

During the last 20 years, complementary therapy has blossomed into the industry we see today. 'Alternative' was the original term used, and fear and ridicule from traditional health practitioners was the order of the day. I have been practising yoga and teaching for 23 years. My dear and beloved teacher – wise man and fool on occasions, as he would admit himself – warned me, "Be careful who you let interpret your world for you – and that includes myself."

I share his words with you, dear reader, before you embark on my tale. I would now like to invite you to share a little of my personal adventure.

I have had the privilege of dancing a little way with all sorts of interesting people as well as some most aggravating, to whom I owe an immense debt of gratitude for offering me the greatest opportunities of growth by placing obstacles along my path.

A quiet place - metaphor for going inwards
A quiet place - metaphor for going inwards

The Journey

Twenty years ago my local night school asked me to run a course for them in alternative medicine. My knowledge came from what I had learned from my yoga class and from spending time with 'teachers' (in the original and archetypal sense of the word) long before expensive courses to become an '-ist' of whatever kind were invented by the street-wise for those with less initiative.

Now insurance demands legislation for the protection of all, and seeing people voting with their feet, even the BMA have decided that they should control who gets what and when. But that is another story altogether.

I was therefore able to experience many therapies first-hand for myself and for my children, and came to appreciate their gentle effectiveness. I was also able to develop a sense of discrimination, a growing awareness of what was good, better or indifferent. Being a teacher by trade and by nature, I felt a need to share my experiences. I trained as a hypno-psychotherapist in 1983 and I teach at The Centre Training School of Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy, which provides professionally accredited courses.

During the 1980s I was invited to run courses for teachers on stress management, communication skills, storytelling and holistic education at my local universities. A single parent, I was also subsidizing my small business and private practice with supply teaching.

Corners and inner spaces offer opportunities for quiet
Corners and inner spaces offer opportunities for quiet

A Quiet Place aims to:

  • provide children with a space where someone will listen to them in moments of crisis and stress;
  • help children to benefit from education by assisting in the removal of the blocks resulting from stress factors;
  • assist in the process of preventing the build-up of mental health problems by addressing issues at an early stage;
  • deliver effective interventions via the holistic and creative use of innovative, person-centred approaches;
  • provide therapeutic support to children and their families within the host school;
  • provide training and support for the staff of that school;
  • provide innovative and targeted interventions that support the child to remain in mainstream provision.

A Quiet Place Project

I have now had the opportunity and support from a variety of sources to bring all my experience together in the Quiet Place Project. It is an action research programme, which aims to develop emotional health, self-esteem and confidence, and to use solution-based strategies to develop positive relationships and improve communication skills.

Originally a specialized 'within schools' programme of therapeutic support for children experiencing behavioural and/or emotional difficulties, plans are being made for the development of Quiet Places and Quiet Spaces within businesses and community bases. Based on the concept of 'wholism' in its fullest sense, it utilizes both traditional and complementary approaches in support of the whole person – mind, emotions, body and spirit – in the context of their whole life, incorporating support for the individual, the family, school staff and, where applicable, the wider community.

A Quiet Place is more than a room. It is a very specific programme characterized by:

  • the supervised practice of therapists trained to a professional level via nationally recognized training programmes;
  • strict quality control via ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the programme – via Liverpool University/ Department of Education.

There are now six Quiet Places in Liverpool and others developing all over the country with interest overseas. Many children and families are gaining access to this empowering provision, which helps them deal positively with their lives both in school and afterwards. It offers lifelong learning about themselves and their relationships, strategies for successful communication and tools to develop more of the potential that lies hidden within.

Sensory stimulation opens doors to inner vistas
Sensory stimulation opens doors to inner vistas

The Parent Pack

Combining my knowledge of many approaches, I have developed a resource 'Parent Pack', which provides a simple and positive introduction to complementary therapies. I hope that this accessible combination of complementary and traditional approaches will help in the challenging job of parenting. Its simple approach is intended to start people off on their journey and to provide a stimulus for further investigation should their interest be sparked. It can also be used as a basis for training in family support.

Parents' and Children's comments about the Parent Pack

Sophie: "I like Penny's voice and she took me to far away places in my head. It helped me to drift off to sleep."

Julie: "Penny has a welcoming and comforting voice. Before listening to the tape I was in a very anxious state, but Penny helped to change my mind-set and I felt so much more relaxed at the end."

Anthony: "The tape from Penny has the power of showing beautiful places and wonderful things."

Margi: "The tape has saved my sanity – powerful yet relaxing – windows to a world beyond your imagination."

Sue: "I have had the tapes for many years and still use them when the stress gets to be too much. I find I can cope more easily and I have lent them to friends and family."

Kim: "I am more aware of the chemicals that are put into our food and more selective of the food I buy. I have found a lot of benefits in the children's behaviour."

Ros: "I have been introduced to the whole world of complementary medicine and use homeopathy and herbal remedies for a wide range of health problems for the whole family."

Jake: "It made me feel sleepy and happy to go to bed."

Further Information

Further information can be obtained by accessing the website: www.cheiron-quietplace.com or contacting Pam Simm, Cheiron – Quiet Place Ltd, 10 Prescot Road, Liverpool L7 0LQ, Tel: 0870 907 7707; Fax: 0870 907 7708.

Bibliography

Bennathan M and Boxall M. Effective Intervention in Primary Schools: Nurture Groups. David Fulton Publishers. 1996.
Department of Education and Employment. Learning Elements of Single Regeneration Budget: Case Studies and Thematic Good Practice. 5. DfEE. London. 1999.
Department of Education and Employment. Social Inclusion: Pupil Support. Circular 10/99. DfEE. London. 1999.
Field T, Quintino O, Hernandez-Reif M and Koslovsky G. Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Benefit from Massage Therapy, Adolescence. 33(129): 103-108. 1998.
Kurtz Z. Treating Children Well. London Mental Health Foundation. 1996.
Mills JC and Crowley RJ. Therapeutic Metaphors for Children and the Child Within. Brunner/Mazel. New York. 1986.
Olness K and Cohen DP. Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy with Children. 3rd ed. Guildford Press. London. 1996.
Spalding B. The Contribution of a 'Quiet Place' to Early Intervention Strategies for Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. British Journal of Special Education. 27(3): 129-134. Sept 2000.
Speke/Garston Partnership. Pathways to Integration: Regeneration Plan. Speke/Garston Partnership. Liverpool. 1996.
Tankersley M, Kamps D, Mancina C and Weidinger D. Social Interventions for Headstart Children with Behaviour Risks. Journal of Emotional and Behavioural Disorders. 4(3): 171-182. 1996.
Walker HM, Kavanagh K, Stiller B, Golly A, Severson H and Feil E. First Step to Success, an Early Intervention Approach for Preventing School Antisocial Behaviour. Journal of Emotional and Behavioural Disorders. 6(2): 66-81. 1998.

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About Penelope Moon

Penelope Moon has been teaching for nearly 28 years. In particular her interests lie in special needs and behaviour management. She is a qualified hypno-psychotherapist and is involved in training others. She is a founder member of Cheiron – A Quiet Place. She co-ordinates the Early Years Behaviour Team for Liverpool Local Education Authority from where she is seconded out to develop A Quiet Place. She is particularly interested in: holistic education and its practical implementation within mainstream education; complementary therapy and its application to a broad range of conditions of the mind, body and spirit; and parenting and the delicate issues surrounding the successful initial engagement and long-term sustainability of support for families under stress.

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