SHARJAH, 15th July, 2017 (WAM) -- The UAE Board on Books for Young People, UAEBBY, has announced the conclusion of the second phase of bibliotherapy workshops following the successful pilot stage of coaching professionals in the field of children’s literature.
The UAEBBY started this pioneering initiative in February to train the first batch of professional bibliotherapists in the nation.
Held for three consecutive days, the workshops aimed to further strengthen participants’ capacity to use their knowledge and experience in the field of children’s literature as a means of enabling young individuals to work through some of the most difficult personal issues they face as victims of unrest, war, displacement, and psychological trauma.
British author and famous bibliotherapy expert Ella Berthoud, once again led the training sessions. She created an opportunity for participants to delve deeper into their understanding of how to channelise their knowledge into therapeutic experiences for traumatised and mentally-affected individuals living in troubled circumstances.
"Attendees of the pilot phase of the workshops expressed that engaging in the activity has been one of their most rewarding experiences in the profession. The overwhelming response to Phase I of training coupled with the participants’ incredible progress and Kan Yama Kan’s continuous innovations to deliver better support were some of the reasons why we launched another phase in quick succession," said Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY Executive Board.
"This phase touched upon the crucial aspect of combining strong character traits of empathy and patience for these future bibliotherapists to enable them to become keen listeners in order to be able to touch every young life they encounter with the kind of healing they need. The therapeutic potential of literature can save lives, and part of Kan Yama Kan’s mission is to empower individuals by making them better communicators in extraordinary circumstances," she added.
During the three days, a variety of group discussions and training sessions were organised. They included role playing for a more nuanced understanding of the sufferer’s mental state, teaching participants how to create safe places for children through reading, writing and art, enabling a ‘mind dump’ through therapeutic writing, as well as using archetypes of superheroes and postcards to discuss feelings. Participants were also taught how to use art as therapy by writing a negative emotion on a balloon and popping it and creating a collage of their vision of a perfect day.
"I was excited to return to Sharjah to deliver my second bibliotherapy workshop for the UAEBBY. This time, I used role-play, written and spoken exercises, as well as art therapy as adjuncts to offering bibliotherapy. Participants dealt with the all-important question of what they hope to achieve when working with victims of displacement and trauma, and what qualities they need to imbibe to attain their goals. A series of activities were aimed at aiding their strategies to become good listeners and create safe places for the affected youth to be able to share their experiences freely. They were introduced to ways in which they can create a 'library of dreams.' Hopefully, the past three days have further deepened the understanding and skills of the session’s participants," Berthoud added.