That was the month that was (or May the force be with you)

What a month May has been for me and no doubt for many others! And, on reflection I feel pleased to say it’s not been all bad for me. In fact it’s felt like a mixture of ‘fun to feel scared’ and ‘risking on purpose’. Not sure I’ve felt totally safe, thankfully not too unsafe either. I have felt plenty of pangs of guilt as I live in a relatively quiet village and, now my children have left home, have plenty of space to enjoy including a garden – I am also acutely aware this is not the case for many other people – once again the privileges that come with life’s lottery surface and weigh heavy.

At the beginning of this enforced ‘protective interruption’ – I choose not to use the standard Covid 19 rhetoric of ‘lockdown’, ‘social distancing’ etc. – I found it hard to even think about training and instead self-regulated by tidying cupboards, weeding the garden, making balloon models including a new balloon ‘Rainbow of Hope’ to put in my window each Monday, doing jigsaw puzzles and colouring with pencils (for a more detailed explanation of how I used Protective Behaviours when this ‘protective interruption’ started please see my last post). This kept me distracted from the news, my hands busy and my spirits high. However, a couple of weekends ago, while sitting in the sunshine, I suddenly had a ‘moment’!!! ‘What if I tried delivering training in Protective Behaviours on-line?’

As already mentioned, my children are grown up and have left home, which means I have space and could choose to turn a downstairs room into an ‘at home training venue’.  I am also married to someone who loves tech challenges and gadgets so have access to a fab webcam, sound system and additional large screen to my laptop’s so I would actually be able to see people. So, we set up the room, I unpacked all my resources, ordered a brand new magnetic flipchart stand complete with 2 extendable arms and additional magnets and tried a dry run. We were on our way.

I’d like to thank Di Margetts and Ann Seal for listening to me think out loud as I worked out how to split the 2-day Foundation Course into 6 two-hour sessions and run the equivalent of a Day 1 in the first three sessions and then the Day 2 a week or fortnight later. I had a small group already booked on to training I was supposed to be running in Northampton in May, so I offered them the first choice. Suffice to say before too long I had the 6 people I needed to give it a go, including the first person from Orkney to access PB training! I then had to work out what resources they would need to receive before the session, either in hard copy or by email, and had great fun collating materials for posting. I really like receiving post 😊

As I type this, we’re half-way through the first course and the feedback from participants has been really positive both in terms of how safe they feel and how the digital platform is enabling them to access training no matter where they are.  I have also had a lot of interest from other groups already. However, I am determined to ensure the quality of the course remains high, so will be keeping numbers lower than they would be in a real training room. The authenticity and accessibility of training and the integrity of the PB process take priority over numbers!

And I’m now about to embark on another ‘virtual adventure’ by co-ordinating a series of 2-hour PB sessions for people totally new to the process and also for people who have previously attended training with me and want an opportunity to put the process into practice together. Further information can be found here.

8 years ago, a friend and PB training colleague and I risked on purpose by setting up the PBPeople community website (which has now evolved into ProtectiveBehaviours.org). We then risked again by establishing our own Protective Behaviours training ‘shop window’: the Protective Behaviours Training Partnership. Both of these ‘risks on purpose’  were born out of necessity as is this latest adventure, for if ever there was a time for people to feel safer, then 2020 is exactly that!

My thanks go to Heather Stapleford for designing this Rainbow of Hope or me. I’m planning to make into greeting cards and sticker sheets to share hope with a wider audience. Please get in touch if you’d like to purchase any.

PS Forgot to highlight another garden inspiration moment had towards the end of April – a new PB consistent activity posted every morning on the PB community website. Hope you enjoy them 🙂

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