Round and About: Notes from a New Team Member
Hello! My name is Roanna and I am a new Roundabout recruit. I thought it would be good to introduce myself here and offer a few thoughts on how it feels to join the Roundabout team….
I qualified as a dramatherapist in March 2013 from Central School of Speech and Drama and in the initial aftermath of finishing my training felt very much like Alice emerging into Wonderland. Entering the world of work is a daunting prospect for any newly qualified professional, but entering the landscape as a recently registered dramatherapist, proudly clutching an HCPC certificate, is especially unnerving. Particularly in today’s frugal economic climate. So, I felt enormously lucky and highly privileged to be offered work with Roundabout within a few months of graduating. Working with Roundabout has made me feel welcomed into a diverse, challenging occupational world and given me a much needed sense of collaboration and place.
Roundabout is the only dramatherapy charity of its kind in the UK and being part of a structured team of therapists working together is enormously affirming. The charity is highly supportive, especially for a new therapist. In a vocation that can sometimes leave the practitioner feeling isolated, as we tend to work across multiple institutions rather than being an integrated part of one particular system; having the framework of a chairty to work within is hugely enjoyable and reassuring.
I began running 1:1 sessions with an adult client with learning disabilities and six months on I am now working two and a half days a week for Roundabout facilitating dramatherapy sessions with older clients in care settings. I’ve found Roundabout extremely nurturing and they have consistently provided me with support, supervision and guidance whenever I have needed it. But they have also given me plenty of room to work as an autonomous practitioner; allowing ample space for me to bring individual skills and perspective to a project.
One part of my job I particularly enjoy is going into different settings and forming new relationships with people. There is always a great sense of pleasure and anticipation for me when meeting new clients for the first time. It is a joy to get the opportunity to come into contact with so many diverse and interesting people, even if you are meeting them at a time when they are facing great difficulty. The experiences I have had over the last six months have been incredibly rich, complex and moving on multiple occasions; and for me an important realisation has been that it is often about focusing on the smaller moments that happen in sessions. These can be the ones that matter most. A simple instance of connection or interaction between two clients can be so significant in the overall process.
It is also really exciting to be working collaboratively with other therapists, as I feel that my practice is constantly developing and I’m being inspired to think more creatively when devising session plans and formulating material for clients. Story-telling, meditation, music, singing, painting, bubbles, sand-play, balloons, poetry, clay-sculpting, singing, more singing and character-work are just a tiny example of the many new weird and wonderful interventions I’ve engaged with in sessions over the last few months.
Working for Roundabout has definitely led me to a richer appreciation of the work we do and the opportunities afforded by the unique spaces we offer our clients. It has also provided me with a much needed sense of validity as a dramatherapist and reinforced my view of our professional capacity as arts therapists. That the charity has been thriving for 28 years and continues to flourish, even amidst the current climate of uncertainty, increasing public sector cuts and funding crises, is testament to the quality of the work that Roundabout do. I am extremely proud to work for the charity.