Tag: Student Placement

‘Embodied Healing’ helps Savera UK clients manage trauma

Over the last three weeks Savera UK clients have been taking part in sessions on ‘Embodied Healing’. The sessions have been delivered by one of our student placements, Aleesha, who is studying a masters in psychotherapy.

‘Embodied Healing’ incorporates a number of techniques, including guided meditation and breathing exercises, to help alleviate the physical impact trauma can have on the body. Aleesha said: “When people experience trauma it’s really held in the body and their nervous system is at the whim of that response. The specific breathing techniques I’m teaching are a type of trauma release and that’s a type of therapy as well.”

The sessions take part in six separate sessions, and involve clients focusing on different breathing techniques. Aleesha practiced with the clients the ‘box technique’ and ‘pranayama’, which she explains are ayurvedic, meaning originating from Indian medicine. She said: “I’m teaching very specific breathing that activates the vagus nerve.”

In the most recent session, Savera UK clients were invited to visualise and draw their version of a safe space. Aleesha said: “We’re building a sense of safe-space imagery so by the end of the programme they have a very easy image to go to in their minds that is sensorial.

“The overall objective is to teach a few skills they can use, provide tools for their tool belt that will allow them to care for and advocate for themselves.”

She said: “[Last week] we did a trauma therapy activity, where people were in pairs and I said ‘show your person a movement that shows how you’re feeling’. One did a position like they were sleeping. I then asked ‘have your partner show us how you feel’. One woman said: ‘I’m realising that when I’m looking I see sleepiness, for her it might mean sadness or exasperation. It shows me it takes time to listen to someone.’”

Aleesha, from Singapore, recently moved to the UK to study for her masters degree, having worked with trauma victims in different settings for two years. Most recently she worked on trauma-informed workshops for survivors.

As well as leading trauma workshops and sessions, Aleesha has undertaken research and helped inform policy, contributing to Singapore’s first ever gender equality review. She said: “I was a researcher for sexual violence across institutes in Higher Education. On the ground work is very important to me but I’m conscious it needs to be both [policy and frontline work].”

Aleesha said her background in policy work means she is “constantly adapting” and “recognising that needs could be assumed, but it’s really dependent on the person”.

Discussing her student placement, Aleesha said she knew it was the “perfect” organisation for her to be involved with. She said: “I used to work with marginalised communities, victims of sexual violence and women of colour and this [placement at Savera UK] gave me the opportunity to do both.”

Aleesha explained she has continued to adapt the sessions based on the response from clients. She said: “I feel like this was the best session.”

She added: “Merfat [a Savera UK support worker] is the best human, she’s so, so supportive. She has really let me take my time and make mistakes. I’m just learning sometimes the simple things have a lot of value.”

Speaking about the clients, Aleesha said: “I have seen the way they hold each other, speak to each other. Women of colour, they bond together. It has been very beautiful to just be around it.”

Student Spotlight: Taylor and Jackie, Social Work Students

Savera UK regularly welcomes student placements so they can learn about what we do, how our team operates and the work involved in advocating for those at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse and other harmful practices.

This year we welcomed Taylor and Jackie to the team, who both began social work placements. Taylor is already half-way through her placement while Jackie has only recently joined. We’re delighted to have you both on board and wish you the best of luck with your placements.

Taylor and Jackie share with us the reasons behind choosing to study social work (and children’s nursing, in Taylor’s case) and tell us a little bit about themselves.

Tell us about yourself!

Jackie: I’m originally from a small village in between Sheffield and Chesterfield (it’s a lot easier to say from near Sheffield though!). As well as studying my Masters, I also work in Domiciliary Care and love it! I enjoy the football too and work at Anfield and Goodison on match days as well as going to watch it.

I love animals and my favourite animals are pandas. I have a big collection of them and it seems to be getting bigger by the week. I’m very outdoorsy and love going to new places and travelling. I have a passion for doing charity work and raising money for different charities and organisations. Before the pandemic, I did a sponsored skydive for Western Park Cancer Charity and raised over £1,000. I’m hoping to be able to join more charities like this now Covid has settled down and jump out of my comfort zone some more.

Taylor: I’m a 23-year-old student, I love music. I love going to music concerts and being in that atmosphere. I have a big family so I enjoy doing activities with them such as bowling, the cinema and fun days out.

Why did you choose to study your course?

Jackie: I never knew what to do and what I wanted to study to be honest. I studied Drama and Special Educational Needs for my undergraduate degree which stemmed from studying Drama, English Literature and Philosophy and Ethics at A-Level where I wanted to be a Dramatherapist.

However, looking after my dad when he became terminally ill had a big influence on what I wanted to do. After reading up on social work and having the chance to be an influencing factor in making a change in people’s lives, I knew that was the thing I felt was missing in deciding what I wanted to do which is why I chose to study my course.

Taylor: I did hairdressing after I left school. After two years I decided I wanted to do something different, so I decided I wanted to be a Nurse. I was accepted on a course which allowed me to explore both professions of a nurse and a social worker. With this [Savera UK] being my first social work placement, I have really enjoyed seeing the role of a Social worker in action. My course will allow me to gain a career where I am able to work as an integrated professional and help individuals holistically.

What will your role be at Savera UK?

Jackie: My role at Savera UK as a student on placement will essentially be getting involved in what the support team do, including making referrals, attending meetings, providing support to clients and observing the team’s day-to-day work.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Jackie: I’m looking most forward to getting stuck in and being able to apply what we’ve been taught in university into practice. I’m looking forward to seeing how things operate and how to look at cases and work on and with them.

What do you hope to bring to the team during your placement?

Jackie: During my placement, I hope to bring my energy and personality to the team as well as some of my thoughts and input on things.

Taylor, how are you finding your placement at Savera UK now you are half-way through?

Taylor: I am glad that I got a placement as amazing at this, the staff at the organisation are phenomenal at their jobs. This given me an opportunity to learn about ‘honour’-based abuse (HBA) and harmful practices. Speaking to my peers and seeing professionals working alongside Savera UK it’s clear not everyone is aware of HBA.

Before beginning your placement, what did you hope to learn?

Taylor: I like learning new things and developing my knowledge which is what I hoped to get from Savera UK. I have learnt so much already only being half way through my placement. I like to believe I am a quick learner when I have been shown what to do, which I hoped would help me during my time here. I didn’t have an expectation of what I was going to learn as I wasn’t aware of the work Savera UK did but I am pleased to say I have learnt so much.

What have you learnt already?

Taylor: While being at Savera UK I have been able to participate or complete a number of tasks and undertake training sessions which have developed my skills and knowledge about culture, sexual abuse and children’s sexual exploitation. I have referred clients for different types of support such as completing MARACs and referring clients to councillors. I have written supporting letters for clients to support asylum or to continue their studies. I have also been able to see professional strategy meetings and uploaded client information from police and other professional referrals.

What do you hope to learn as you continue your placement?

Jackie: I’m hoping to develop my skills as a social worker and increase my knowledge on things that I may not be too sure about.

Taylor: I feel this placement will allow me to spot signs of HBA and harmful practices while I get further in my career and educate others on my knowledge around HBA.

Thank you Jackie and Taylor! We’re so pleased to have you both as part of the Savera UK team.