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Books and journal articles
Pictures on my Ceiling
Unconscious into Conscious: a story of healing from Trauma
United P.C. - February 2021 
For anyone wanting to understand trauma, this story is told through the perspective of a therapist seeking therapy to find respite from the distressing impact of trauma. Her narrative challenges the myths of dissociative splitting and expectations of therapy.

Why so different now? - p.p. 75-76

Pictures on my ceiling: same cuckoo, different nest - p.p. 49 - 51  

The 'dancer' in room 4.07 - p.p. 141 -144

Articles in 'Artful Collaborative Inquiry - Making and Writing Creative Qualitative Research.

Edited by Kirkpatrick, D.; Porter, S.; Speedy, J. and Wyatt, J. Routledge, August 2021. London.

Children's experiences and views of therapy: Moving into Motion to transform lives and well-being - p.p. 117 - 123. 

In 'Child Agency and Voice in Therapy: New ways of working in the arts therapies. Jones, P. et al.  Routledge. August 2021. London.

Developmental Movement Play – Moving into motion to transform lives and well-being: Using ourselves to communicate through movement PLR0910/036

 CWDC, September 25, 2010


This paper is a reflection on a Developmental Movement Play (DMP) programme for parents and young children experiencing emotional, behavioural and/or mental health difficulties. This practitioner-led research explores how using ourselves to communicate through movement can transform lives and well-being. The study demonstrates how taking part in physical, non-verbal relationship play helps to improve the lives of vulnerable families. The process is discussed in light of the participants’ relationships with each other and the changes brought about through their shared movement experiences. Creative, qualitative research methods illustrate the effectiveness of movement to encourage changes in parenting styles, attitudes, feelings and moods. It seeks views from participants who co-construct the programme and the research and includes information relating to the style, attitude and basic orientation of the therapist delivering this holistic practice. It explores problems associated with researching movement and giving children a voice in research. The nature of the work is described and the views of participants highlight the empowering effects of the programme. Participants referred to the programme were experiencing mental health problems and appeared to be miserable, angry and anxious. These problems often affected the relationship between the parent and child and therefore the children’s ability to learn. DMP invites mothers and children to share their experiences and fears in the hope that the practice might lift spirits, improve moods and enhance positive relationships. Results of the research indicate that participants enjoyed the programme and appreciated time playing together. Finding a safe environment in which to meet and be themselves without fear of being judged regarding their parenting skills was important to the adults. Both the research and the programme have benefited from this close collaboration with participants.



Integrated Approach to Parenting Support

 CWDC, August 24, 2009


In this reflective study, the importance of real relationships regarding participant engagement in the research and in the group work process is realized as a result of the researcher’s ability to elicit and interpret the women’s accounts of the relationships they experienced during the project. Early intervention was set up by the practitioner to provide a service for vulnerable families facing social exclusion and with children experiencing behavioral, social, emotional and mental health difficulties. The practitioner collected the views of ten women during semi-structured interviews to examine their reports of cohesiveness, connectedness, and disconnections of the relationships experienced during the group work. In addition, the study examined women’s mood diaries and journals to provide background information about their feelings and relationships. This study demonstrated that creating opportunities for sustained and sensitive engagement with participants can

establish the partnerships needed for women to make sustainable changes in order to improve the quality of their family lives. The main findings that emerged from the study were the importance women attached to listening to by professionals supporting them and how they felt that the professionals failed to listen to them. It showed the support they gave each other and needed from the practitioner in order to put nurturing strategies in place to support their children. Participants recognized the need to make changes in themselves in order for their relationships with others to work.



Healthy, Active and Outside 

Routledge, June 10, 2008


'There’s a growing awareness that for the good of their health, children need to be out and about more, with their friends, exploring the outdoor world in their own way.' - Nicola Butler, Director of the Free Play NetworkIt is widely acknowledged that children today do not get outdoors often enough and there are serious concerns about children's activity levels and rising associated behavioral, mental and health problems. With such structured and technology-driven lives, it is easy for young children to stay indoors, play on computers and not socialize with other children in a healthy and active way.

This book not only supports 'playing out' as an integral part of children’s natural growth and development but also provides early years workers with a full programme of outdoor physical activities to promote physical, social and behavioral skills.

This book is a guidebook to setting up an outdoor physical activity programme in any early years setting. The book focuses on how getting outdoors and taking part in physical activities will provide children with positive fun experiences to enhance their general learning and development. The programme can be adapted to suit any timescale - from a whole term to one or two days.

Key features include showing practitioners:

  • how to make the most of their outdoor area for all children

  • step by step explanations to the outdoor activities

  • how to engage participants (including parents)

  • how to set up and plan activities

  • ideas for group and individual assessment

  • how to carry out risk assessments

  • how an outdoors programme can change children's lives for the better

A book for anyone interested in organizing outdoor physical activities.


Moving with Research: Bonding through Developmental Movement Play

Sunfield Publications, 2007


Developmental Movement Play (DMP) is a psychotherapeutic use of dance and movement that is based on the principle

that movement reflects an individual's patterns of thinking and feeling. It is a means of non-verbal means of

communication that came from the union between children's wish to dance and the need to develop a programme to address the poor attachment relationship and negative parenting styles of some of the parents attending movement workshops. All children and their parents can be included in the fully inclusive practice of DMP regardless of the stage of development or physical ability. It is based on the notion that we have two basic needs: to feel at home in our bodies and to be able to make relationships with others. Participants engage creatively in a process to further their emotional, cognitive physical and social integration, develop confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.

(Janice Filer; Elizabeth Marsden; Jo Egerton)



Communicating Through Movement: SDM and its Role in Family Therapy

Sunfield Publications, 2006


An explanation 'Developmental Movement Play' is an early innovative early intervention that addresses the needs of two generations by providing a service that encourages the building of a securely attached relationship between mother and child. It is a therapeutic group work practice that uses dance and movement to address issues concerning communication, family relationships and emotional behavioral and mental health difficulties for parents and children during the early years. 


(Janice Filer; Cyndi Hill)



A Moving Experience

Nursery World. 30 September 1983


Many practitioners are reluctant to initiate dance and movement activities, either because they feel inhibited or because they lack the 'necessary' training. To help overcome this hesitancy, Jan looks at the results dance and movement can bring, both in terms of a child's physical, mental and emotional development and their interactions with others...The dance movement experiences explained here help foster good relationships on all levels and enjoyment of safe touch fulfilling the basic human needs of children (and adults) to give and receive physical contact as a natural part of non-sexual intimate relationships with each other (and adults).



Up, Up and Away

Nursery World. 8 October 1994


A parachute is a valuable resource for games that inspire teamwork. Janice Filer gives a comprehensive guide to using a 'chute with children. Jan explains how the silk parachute has opened up an exciting new world in the area of movement and dance. The article includes many practical ideas that began as innovative use of an old silk parachute in the 1970s during Jan's training as a dance movement specialist secondary teacher. Here she explains how her original ideas developed and can be adapted for use in a variety of settings.


Family Affair

Nursery World, July 1, 1996

The transition from home to nursery can often be one of the most traumatic times of a young child's life. It may be the first major break away from home, causing anxiety for the child and indeed affecting the whole family. Nursery teacher, Janice Filer was concerned at the trauma suffered by many children coming to the nursery school, who had never been separated from their parents before. So, with the support of research drawn from the local community, staff began implementing a flexible induction procedure for each child which relied upon the contribution of parents, or the child's main carer to make the transition smoother ... 


Mark Making

Nursery World. March 1987

The importance of exploring mark making to children's development and writing skills


Dens, Bases and Secret Places

Nursery World, 1991

Discovering why children need to build dens and how this activity can support children's learning, well-being, and behaviour in the nursery setting. In addition how den making can be used as an adult activity in team building, self and professional development.


Meeting Challenge; Taking Risks

Nursery World, 991

Getting outdoors to explore can lead to healthy risk-taking to support growth, development and well being. This approach encourages the understanding of safety and supports the notion of safeguarding children to take healthy risks which support the development of self-confidence, understanding of self in relation to the immediate outdoor environment, the world around us and other people.  The approach enables children to meet the healthy challenges found in the outdoor environment so that they can learn to understand danger and dangerous situations.


Structured Physical Play

Child Education, Scholastic LTD. August 1997

Structured games for physical education during the early years phase of education. Children can enjoy exciting games based upon the sequence of traffic lights.


Secret Places

Nursery World, February 12, 1998

Making dens and private spaces give children a necessary outlet for creativity and fulfill a basic human need to make a home. Enabling children to build adult-free zones is one of the many ways we can offer children the opportunity to not only express their individuality but solve problems and learn by their mistakes. Children's confidence and self-esteem can be seen to grow as they take on the challenge of creating a safe environment for themselves in which they can take appropriate control.


Practical Ideas 

Nursery Projects, Scolastic LTD., 1997 - 1999

  • Dance Movement

  • Physical Activity


Blanket Play

Nursery World, 1996

Practical physical activities to encourage awareness of self and awareness of others in very young children



Setting Up Parental Support in Schools and Early Year's Settings: A Practical Guide

Routledge, in press.

Are you responsible for setting up parental links in your school or children’s centre? Are you looking for help in developing parental partnerships or tips on how to support parents in your setting?

Setting up parent support activities provides even the most vulnerable families with positive experiences that will enhance the learning taking place in schools and settings for all children, particularly children with behavioral and emotional difficulties Supporting Parents provides step-by-step guidance for setting up parenting programmes and other initiatives to support parents in early years settings and primary schools. The book also gives practical advice on how to set up inclusive programmes which support families in order to encourage good home-school relations.

Written with the busy practitioner in mind, this step-by-step guidebook provides a range of practical activities for practitioners to adopt: from the basic idea of starting to include parents more through universal activities such as how to engage parents in the first place, setting up the parent’s room, providing individual support to an overview of the more theoretical approaches needed for targeted parents.

Guidance is given on how to:

  • set up the parenting rooms

  • manage safety issues

  • carry out risk assessments

  • support family learning

  • engage parents and retain their interest & attendance

  • use screening tools to collect data and document changes in behaviour.


This easy-to-use guidebook includes examples of structured activities, templates for a group and individual assessment and photocopiable sheets. Short case studies are used throughout to show how different approaches and parent support 

programmes work in practice.



Dance and Movement Themes

Scholastic, April 19, 2002


This series of books provides ready-made ideas for developing all the essential skills within the Early Learning Goals. Each book takes one particular skill and includes double-page spreads of activity ideas. The left-hand page provides a practical group activity using resources typically found in any nursery setting. This is supported with a photocopiable activity on the right-hand page which consolidates the learning and provides an assessment record of each child's individual achievement. The final page contains a photocopiable Skills Development Chart to place in each child's personal portfolio. DANCE AND MOVEMENT provides a range of activities to develop skills using the body to explore.

The ideas focus on the Physical Development and Creative Development areas of learning. Children will learn to move with confidence, imagination and in safety responding to what they see, hear and feel. Each activity concentrates on a new skill such as moving freely in space and responding to commands; playing a cat and mouse game; using brightly coloured streamers in dance and moving in different directions to respond to a story based on Jack and the Beanstalk. *Nothing like it for this age range *Skills an essential part of early learning *Assessment links *Based on the Early Learning Goals *Photocopiable sheets *Skills development chart



Autumn: Themes for Early Years

Scholastic, January 18, 1999


The season of autumn has dramatic changes for children to observe, from the dark evenings to the changing colours of leaves and cold, misty mornings. The chapters in this book each take a particular aspect of the season of autumn and provide a wide range of activities across the curriculum. There are chapters on signs of autumn, animals, leaves, seeds, nuts and berries, autumn games and celebrations. Linking up with these activities is a photocopiable anthology section of action rhymes, poems, stories and songs, all based on the Winter theme. In addition, there are photocopiable activity sheets plus ideas for displays and assemblies. A topic web links the activities to both the National Curriculum and the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines.


Outdoor Play

Scholastic, May 22, 1998


This text shows how practitioners can use the outdoor environment to develop skills, knowledge and understanding in all areas of the early year's curriculum. There are six chapters, each covering one of SCAA's Areas of Learning for under-fives. These are language and literacy; mathematics; personal and social development; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development; and creative development. The activities are child-centred, building on the children's own interests. Six photocopiable activity sheets provide extension and reinforcement ideas. The introduction to the book includes useful information for the educator on areas such as safety, using adult helpers, observation, assessment and making links with home.



All of Me

Private Practice, Winter Edition, December 2013


This article describes the long, difficult ending between client and therapist after many years of working together. It touches on the power balance held in their loving, reparative relationship and the difficulty in communicating the 'unspeakable' in order to do the wok togther.

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