Saint Francis Hospice's trainee art therapist Tansy Josey reflects on her time with the hospice, including how she has developed and helped others.

I was excited about starting my placement at the hospice, and the hospice environment and working within a charity setting was new to me.

I was concerned about how the lockdown restrictions would affect my placement, but nevertheless I was looking forward to working within a team as I was the only art therapist at my previous secondary school placement.

My role at the hospice has been to provide adults with art therapy sessions on the inpatient unit. The sessions enabled them to be creative, express, discuss and explore any thoughts and feelings that were important to them.

I found many clients reflected on their lives or used the art therapy process as a distraction from their discomfort.

Another part of my role has been supporting bereaved and pre-bereaved children and young people in art therapy sessions. While working through the third lockdown, the children needed constant support due to school closures and their sessions helped them to manage their anxieties about the pandemic as well as their bereavement.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Tansy Josey benefitted from her art therapy placement at Saint Francis HospiceTansy Josey benefitted from her art therapy placement at Saint Francis Hospice (Image: St Francis Hospice)

Working with different clients has given me a versatile experience in using my skills and informed my understanding of how the hospice’s family support services works.

I have greater insight into the impact of life-limiting illness for both patients and family members.

Although Covid restrictions impacted my placement, I was able to support my clients through this difficult time by offering telephone and online sessions, working in an adaptable way.

As lockdown restrictions eased, I was able to visit schools to support children who benefited from face-to-face sessions. I have learnt a lot throughout my placement; the added pressure of the pandemic taught me to manage my anxiety as well as my clients’ anxieties.

Furthermore, I have enjoyed working within a multi-disciplinary team and have felt extremely supported and welcomed by everyone at the hospice.

I plan to use all I have learnt on this placement and continue to develop my practice, where my aim is to continue working with children and adolescents within a school, hospice or NHS setting.

To anyone looking for an art therapy placement, I highly recommend Saint Francis Hospice. Even though the environment can be challenging, I have seen how everyone at the hospice cares and loves the work they do.