I trained as a clinical psychologist and worked in hospital and community mental health services for 5 years. After that I worked as a researcher at the Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling on a project exploring ways of consulting people with dementia about their views of services. You can find out more about this here. Alongside this I co-wrote our book Communication and the Care of People with Dementiawith John, and got involved in work exploring creativity in people with dementia, and also the combination of deafness and dementia.
Since leaving the Dementia Centre, I have worked freelance and had the opportunity to do many interesting things, including a lot of writing, speaking, presenting workshops and a project exploring communication with people with very advanced dementia with John in Australia. I am constantly amazed and delighted by the wonderful people and work we have encountered through all of this. These activities have taken place alongside my continuing practice as a clinical psychologist. Working directly with people with mental health problems is something I love and feel privileged to do.
Over the last few years my main project has been to patient and keep faith whilst life has rather got in the way of being able to devote as much time and energy to dementia work as I would like.
However, in September 2011 I finally got my long planned-for project - my PhD - underway! I am exploring the experience of flow (also called 'optimal human experience') in persons with dementia. I am in the early stages of this and it is very exciting. It brings so many strands of my interests over the years together. You can find out more about this here and over the next few months I will be developing my own website www.feltexperience.co.uk which will share various aspects of this and related creative journeys.
My own experiences of flow mostly occur in the context of doing therapy with people with mental health problems, whilst teaching, reading, writing and playing with various forms of textile crafts. I am also developing an interest in animation and film-making, and when I master the basics I am hoping for a bit of flow there too.