November Webinar Series, Playfully Navigating the ‘Now Normal

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play havoc with the mental and emotional well-being of many of us, feelings of helpless and being out of control can give rise to anxiety, fear and anger. You are not alone if you’ve been struggling with these feelings, as this invisible threat - which is depriving us of life as we knew it - is taking a toll.

While it’s too early to say what the full impact of coronavirus will be on children & young people’s mental health, the signs are that it will be significant. Through this webinar series, we will work together to support children and young people, their families and each other to explore how we might minimise this impact and to help them to cope.

As experienced psychotherapists working with children, young people, families and professionals working to support them, Joanna Fortune &  Janet Healy will draw on emerging research , published during the pandemic, to support our explorations of what the key mental health challenges are for child and young people at this time. We will explore how coronavirus is disproportionately affecting families with complex needs, and identify ways through which we might best support children, young people and families to manage adversity, compounded by COVID-19.

Webinar 1: Playful Parenting in a Pandemic: Winter Edition -  Thursday 12th November 2020 

We know parents and care-givers are struggling to balance work, child care and self-care while keeping worries — both your children’s and your own — under control. You don’t have to do it alone. Building on the ‘Playful Parenting in a Pandemic’ film series commissioned by DCS CYPSC, this follow-up live webinar with psychotherapists Joanna Fortune & Janet Healy, presented an overview of the importance of structure, nurture & engagement through playful presence in the parent-child relationship, and why this is especially important in times of uncertainty and challenges such as the impact and disturbances caused by COVID-19. As long winter nights approach, we will explore the particular challenges parents & carers are experiencing at this point in time, blending a conversational-style presentation and a live Q & A format.

Webinar 2:  The Importance of Play in Supporting Families Experiencing Homelessness Tuesday 17th November 2020 

As COVID-19 disrupts education, services & life across the country, children, young people & families experiencing homelessness are exceptionally vulnerable. As individuals & organisations charged with the responsibility of supporting families experiencing homelessness, it is vital that we remain cognisant of the impact that the inherently traumatic experience of homelessness has on the physical, psychological, emotional, social and developmental status of children, young people & their caregivers. We know that trauma can disrupt the parent-child relationship, and that disruption itself can cause a traumatic rupture in this most important of relationships. A timely intervention, through a child’s preferred medium of interaction, play, can help to ensure that this relational rupture is repaired, strengthening the parent-child relationship and support both parent and child in coming to terms what has happening to them.

This webinar will explore familial homelessness, as both a lived experience and a state of mind. Primary focus will be given to the ways in which those working to support families experiencing homelessness can use the therapeutic power of play, and their physical and emotional presence, as a means of communication and deep-contact, to establish and build a meaningful rapport with children, young people & families.

Webinar 3: A Play-filled Pivot : Supporting Children, Families and Ourselves When Everything is Different Thursday 19th November 2020

Most of us, and the people with whom we work with, have been restricting their movements and their engagement with others for months. This has been a very stressful and traumatic time for us all. Now that services have reopened and we are tentatively engaging with face-to-face meetings and sessions, we need to find creative ways to stay safe and adapt to the Now Normal, while continuing to engage and build meaningful relationships with those children, young people and families we provide with personal and professional support. This webinar will identify the impact that stress and uncertainty associated with COVID-19 is having on children and young people’s behaviour, and how the experience of COVID-19 related stress impacts frontline support workers also. We will then introduce ways to playfully engaging children, young people and families to address their social, emotional and physical needs of families, while also resourcing ourselves as family support practitioners, during these difficult and stressful times.