Giuliana Fenwick is a complementary therapist, Indian head massage specialist and author with Jessica Kingsley Publications.
Mother to a son on the autistic spectrum, she has worked with healing and complementary therapies for almost all her adult life. She has worked with healing since she was a child. She blended five different therapies into a very refined and specialised head massage when her son hit an extremely difficult time in his life. He has suffered from debilitating OCD and when his needs went unnoticed and unsupported within a one size fits all mainstream system, he plummeted so badly that he developed mental health issues for a while and entered a terrifying period of his life where he was drowning with no voice and no expectations. In spite of his noticeable high intelligence and obvious gifts , he was surrounded, as so many are in mainstream schools, by a total lack of expectation. There was very much the prevailing attitude of ‘ special needs equals stupid ‘ , an attitude that is wholly untrue and unfair. Ollie had his voice removed and his dreams crushed. By internalising this pain, fear and broken heart, he became temporarily very unwell and entered a very frightening period of his life. Giuliana refused to stop believing in her son and began to fight.
Thanks to his trust in her and his bravery, she came up with the method which has seen her take it to schools all over West Somerset then further afield, registering it with the Complimentary Medical Association and training others not just nationally but internationally, featuring in publications such as Autism Eye and more recently signing a publishing contract. Ollie found his voice again and gained ten A to C gcse’s at the first attempt . His confidence was mended and his gifts outside of school bloomed one more. This is why Giuliana works so hard through her therapy and by believing in every person she touches , to help them find their voices again. It only takes one adult to believe in a child, to understand them, and their life can be so different.
Giuliana runs talks, workshops and trainings both in the UK and abroad.She has trained organisations such as MIND and ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium. She has now taken the training to NATSPEC where she trains the teachers for specialist colleges in her unique therapy .She also speaks at conferences such as the ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium annual conferences abroad. She also trains groups of parents, carers and teachers both privately and within autism centres and schools.
From September 2015, Giuliana will be training NHS Partnerships, local authorities and specialist colleges as part of a pilot scheme being offered by Foxes Academy.
Giuliana has a wealth of experience working with the autistic spectrum, SEN registers in schools from dyslexia, dyspraxia and a whole range of learning difficulties right through to eating disorders, OCD, behavioural issues, emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, psychosis, Tourette’s, insomnia, selective mutism, Downs Syndrome and alopecia.
Giuliana gained a degree in French and History from Exeter University, before spending a year after her graduation working for magazines at Conde Nast Publications. She has written all her life since childhood and had strong tendencies towards healing which again she has had since childhood. For nearly all her adult life she has been a fully qualified complementary therapist gaining an indian head massage diploma in 2006 and becoming a reiki master teacher with the UK Reiki Federation in 2005.
What Giuliana found in the course of her work is that very often “special needs” is often seen as “stupid” and yet in her experience, Giuliana has found the very opposite to be true. She feels the most gifted and interesting people she has ever met are amongst the young people on her books. She takes pride and joy in the fact that within mainstream schools where children are referred to her as labels, she hands them back as young people with voices and gifts. She works very much with them rather than on them.
She feels so strongly about this, that as her work has grown as an author and speaker, and her training sessions have begun to take her all over the world, she has decided to train up some of the young people she works on within schools by offering apprenticeships so that they can take over the work from her. She empowers everybody she works with and has a tremendous rapport and understanding of the young people she works with . As she says, ” I can give somebody all my wisdom but the compassion to reach out and touch others in a healing way requires compassion and these kids I’ve worked with have that in spades. They know what it’s like to feel they have no voice, to be surrounded by low expectations. They deserve a voice, a chance at a future with all it’s potential.”
Her talks, trainings ,articles and books are every bit as much about giving people a voice as well as opening them up, melting their barriers, gaining their trust and helping them to find their gifts. The healing power of therapeutic touch is very needed. Young people are about so much more than school and academics. They are full of gifts. They are our future. What we put into them sows the seeds for what we are creating for our world in the future. Touch should be taboo no longer. It is healing, it is safe. It makes a difference.
Her dream would be to set up therapy rooms in every school, particularly mainstream where the one size fits all system discriminates against so many and ignores the many other gifts we all have which school,cannot even begin to tap into. The whole person, ” wholistic ally ” should be nurtured.
To see some of Ollie’s poetry, please click here.