In the latest in a series of interviews with 2019 FHT Training Congress expert speakers, we speak to Lorraine Senior, MFHT, about education, autism spectrum disorders and positive touch.
Tell us a bit of background about yourself…
I am a qualified teacher with over 25 years’ experience, supporting children and young adults with special educational needs and disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and complex needs, and a qualified UK-based reflexologist.
My career began in secondary mainstream education in the mid ‘80s and I continued with my training to make the move into special education within the first few years of teaching. I have worked with several education authorities in England throughout my teaching career with pupils aged from three to 19 years of age.
Seeing the wonderful value of positive touch throughout my time in the classroom, I decided I needed to learn more, and I qualified in reflexology in 2008 with a passion to develop a reflexology framework that would be embraced and valued, to provide a timetabled therapy to support the emotional wellbeing of pupils during the school day.
Give us an insight in to your normal day to day schedule…
A usual day working in school is always rewarding and always a little different. I need to be an advanced organiser, with a plan A, B and C. The intention of my therapy sessions is always to help the receiver to be in a better frame of mind at the end of the session, to cope better with their ongoing activities and demands placed up on them throughout the school day.
I arrive at school about 8am to prepare the room, which is shared with other therapists during the week, ready to welcome my young clients when the school day starts at 8.50. Each child is collected by me from the classroom and offered up to 20 minutes of relaxation, calming, wellbeing reflexology. I deliver this using the Functional Reflex Therapy (FRT) Framework and then return the child to the classroom so they can continue their activities and learning.
I often stay after school to take time to meet with staff and give feedback and arrive home around 5 pm. Sometimes I have private clients in the evening.
Working in the school environment means that I work as part of the multi-disciplinary team. It’s nice to work alongside others and to be part of the team around a young person. It’s great to pop along to the staffroom and have a sociable lunch break.
What interests you outside of work
Outside of work I’m not very good with giving myself spare time! I really should look to improve this. I do like to walk and swim and love visiting family and friends.
I do try to enjoy a little craft work and have a new project up and running. It’s aptly called ‘footprints’—watch this space! And a little time for me to escape from the computer and from FRT!
What is your Training Congress seminar about?
The title of my seminar is Reflexology and the Functional Reflex Therapy Framework, where I will share the value for our clients of providing a repetitive, rhythmical, structured relaxation framework drawn from reflexology and supported with the FRT tool kit where appropriate to support clients with communication issues.
What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?
I am passionate about my topic. I am privileged to work within the education environment and within residential and care homes where I witness the many benefits not just to the receiver but to the people around them.
I feel by sharing the structured routine and working within a consistent way we can lift our professional recognition as qualified reflexology therapists delivering reflexology using the Functional Reflex Therapy Framework.
This is not just for the education system but supportive for any environment where there needs to be a structured protocol in place to support clients of all ages with high levels of anxiety.
What will attendees of your seminar expect to come away with?
I will share a little introduction to the FRT Framework, a video of the sessions working within the school environment, and one from a headteacher sharing her thoughts about the many values of having reflexology on the school timetable.
I will provide a few suggestions and practical strategies that I have found work well for reflexologists to take away, to consider introducing into their therapy sessions.
Are there any other seminars in the programme which look particularly interesting to you?
There are many seminars in the programme that look interesting, it is a good varied programme:
- Dr Carol Samuel “Discover how reflexology can support cancer survivors who have long-term pain”
- John Bram Levine “Boost your therapy with brainwave music—Learn about the correlation between the brain and the influence of music”.
- Tania Plahay “Five key tips for working with those living with dementia”
- Julie Crossman “The role of the complementary therapist within the NHS”
- Jane Johnson “Posture: does it matter, and can it be corrected?”
What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?
To really think about the pathway you are passionate about, and further your learning and passion through CPD. If you are not quite sure why you are drawn to a particular training course there will be a reason! Go for it! I’ve attended a few like that, they have been really helpful, and way exceeded my expectations.
I find it very valuable to belong to the FHT for advice, support and meeting other therapists.
Join us at the 2019 FHT Training Congress from Sunday 19 to Monday 20 May at the Holistic Health Show, NEC Birmingham.
For more details about the talks and to book, visit fht.org.uk/congress