Green woodwork as therapy / Help for Heroes?

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Green woodwork as therapy / Help for Heroes?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:09 pm

I wondered if any of the demonstrators/teachers had used green woodworking/bodging/Scandinavian carving in a therapeutic setting? I find I'm getting an enormous amount of satisfaction out of this bodging/greenwood working/Swedish carving - far more than I ever expected. Any day when I manage to gather, chop, or carve wood, or handle/sharpen the tools, I feel happy/content. It really focuses the mind (as rock climbing used to when I was younger). It makes me wonder if this might have some therapeutic application - I imagine it could be welcome distraction/re-direction of focus if other areas of your life/mind are causing anxiety/stress.

Help for Heroes is a very popular charity with my neighbours. Soon, several thousand more troops will be returning from active duty. I wonder if there might be an opportunity to help some with green wood working therapy?
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Re: Green woodwork as therapy / Help for Heroes?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:22 pm

To put this in context:

There was recently a documentary on TV on some of the charities which work with returning troops (and there will soon be thousands more returning) which showed how art and sculpture had been used successfully to help treat some - culminating with an exhibition on the South Bank in London. At least one of the former soldiers featured is now a serious professional artist - several showed considerable talent. I also once met a music therapist, she worked with traumatized children in the USA.

I also recently spoke with my niece's partner, who served in Afghanistan a few years ago. I casually asked about the psychological effects and he recounted several of his own experiences and of others he knew. They were extremely disturbing. I watch/listen to the news but thought most of the events reported were unusual, but I had entirely failed to grasp how much these guys and girls are exposed to routinely. I fear post traumatic stress will be quite common among them.

Part of the reason for my concern is that I recall hearing a BBC report, which stated that more Falkland servicemen had taken their own life since than had actually died in the conflict [ref: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1758301.stm]. Also, I have come across stories in the USA and (this week) in the UK of returning soldiers harming their loved ones.
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Re: Green woodwork as therapy / Help for Heroes?

Postby pedder63 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:55 pm

Excellent idea. I worked as a woodwork instructor extensively with people with mental health problems, but before I got involved with green wood. The intuitive nature, and the hands-on feel of working wood green, and the feelings of satisfsaction from shaving wood will surely benefit many people suffering from mental distress.
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Re: Green woodwork as therapy / Help for Heroes?

Postby robin wood » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:00 am

There are a number of folk using green woodwork as therapy and as a way of reconnecting with folk that have become disengaged with mainstream education work etc. Barn teaches very difficult and disadvantaged kids in London 2 days a week. Another friend teaches within the Camphill communities and the Ruskin Mill Educational Trust use green woodworking quite a lot. There is a long history of craft used as rehabilitation, soldiers returning from the first war blinded by gas were re-trained as basketmakers for instance.
http://www.robin-wood.co.uk bowls, books and courses
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Re: Green woodwork as therapy / Help for Heroes?

Postby grinagog » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:24 am

Howdy Tonewood,
I work for a mental health charity and all the things I learn with Greenwoodwork I then take to work and use to help people with mental health issuses adopt and re-adjust within a woodland environment. We also take in people from the armed forces who may be suffering from post-trauma. I personally think the project works very well for folk with mental and physical problems! And I am very proud of being able to play a part in helping folk from all sorts of backgrounds, I also get to practice the crafts for my own benefit! Rewarding in many ways! :)
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