Review of GROUNDED in an International Journal

Review of GROUNDED in an International Journal

This review appeared in the summer (2019) edition of Play for Life, an International journal for Play Therapists. 

GROUNDED ~ Discovering the Missing Piece in the Puzzle of Children’s Behaviour
Claire Wilson
CHEW Initiatives, 2018
Paperback 131 pp
ISBN: 978-1-9164133-0-6

Claire Wilson has many years of experience in working with children, parents and teachers. Starting out as a teacher, a youth worker and helping to run retreats for adults, she became a play therapist in 2008. She is now an accredited play therapist, supervisor and has an MA in practice-based play therapy. Her vocation is further demonstrated through being the founder of CHEW initiatives, ( and an advocate for children’s mental health.

“Grounded” is a concise text written for all adults that care for children both professionally and personally. It is written from the heart, with a genuine passion and dedication to enlightening and supporting the reader with the message that adults possess the most significant variable in influencing children’s behaviour. The book is engaging, very easy to read and has a clear, appealing layout with diagrams to illustrate the key points. Claire seamlessly incorporates evidence from neuroscience, predominantly Porges’ polyvagal theory, (with neuroception as a key element), and the work of Bruce Perry. She has astutely outlined this theory in a very accessible way. Case studies from her work and personal life are used throughout the text, really bringing the book to life. Practical ideas are also offered, lending it to being a book to revisit time and again.

Although not written specifically for Play Therapists, I believe that “GROUNDED” will be of deep interest to those at all levels, from just embarking on the certificate course, to seasoned practitioners. Claire highlights the link between the mind and body in a trauma informed and holistic approach, compatible with PTUK’s model. “Grounded” offers a powerful reminder about the value of human connection and relationships as the keystone to managing behaviour. The author accentuates the notion that all key adults can unwittingly influence the behaviour of children; I found it incredibly useful to have neuroception explained in terms of this impact. For me personally, this book has encouraged me to introspect on how my own physiological state is “neurocepted” by the children I work with. Equally, when attempting to unravel a child’s behaviour when the cause is not obvious, it has highlighted to me the significance of considering the influence of other key relationships. Consequentially, this has encouraged me to reconsider the benefits of working with parents alongside their children in these terms.

The author briefly outlines the trauma-healing modalities of somatic experiencing and TRE, in which she is trained. These may be of interest to more experienced practitioners as areas to consider for CPD.

Because of the considerate, supportive and straightforward writing style, this book is one I will recommend to parents and teachers; the author is non-judgmental and kind to the reader. Recently, I have delivered a staff meeting on de-escalation and found it useful to convey the key message I got from the book: Bodies speak louder than words; it is only when we are grounded that we can fully help a child to calm, (Wilson, 2018).

Claire Wilson’s genuine commitment to the message she delivers is demonstrated through an invitation to join an online supportive community in which adults can further explore their journeys in becoming more grounded. I thoroughly recommend this book to everyone who has a desire to influence children in a positive way. Not only is it informing, encouraging and supportive but offers an attainable way in which all adults, in becoming more grounded, can pave the way to enable children to be their best selves.

Helena Cole, PTUK Certified Play Therapist

TRE – from a Mum’s perspective

TRE – from a Mum’s perspective

Life starts throwing things at us from when we are small – and we learn to navigate, deal with, overcome or stuff them.
Regardless, they have an impact on us, and so many parents find that ‘parenting’ brings many of these unresolved experiences and tensions to the surface. Being with an anxious parent always has an impact on children.
I am so proud of this Mum who trusted me enough to take me up on my suggestion she try learning TRE.
In just a few sessions she felt and LOOKED so different!
In her own words though…
Untitled design

My journey started with Claire in January 2017.

I’ve always suffered with bouts of anxiety throughout my life,

usually when the stresses of life, illness, loss, family, work, etc, become hard to deal with.

Over a number of weeks I’ve tried to fix everything, everyone and myself when this happens.
But sometimes you can’t! and that’s when I’m in trouble.

So you try to hide it, carry on, and store these feelings.

In the past I have had to go to the doctors.

But this time I met Claire, and decided to try TRE.

I suppose at first I was unsure about it, skeptical, not quite sure whether it would help.

But after 2 sessions I started to understand it and feel the benefits in my own body.

I started to release underlying tension, stress, thoughts, aches and pains, that I’d tucked away for a long time.

My body and my mind feel so much better,
relaxed muscles, neck pain gone, and even foot pain (from Plantar Fasciitis) getting better
and my mind doesn’t worry so much.

I suppose I concentrate more in today rather than what might happen.

I practice TRE at home now 3 times a week, and it does work.

I would like to thank Claire for her time, patience, and helping me heal myself.

We all have these times in our life, TRE helps so much, the natural way.

Thank you xUntitled design (1)

TRE is a powerful tool being used across the world to help people of all ages release tension from their bodies.
If you would like to find out more you can explore the TRE section on this site and search the TRE blogs in categories on the right hand side. 🙂

Stress and inevitable symptoms of working in a school…?

Stress and inevitable symptoms of working in a school…?

This just came in from one of the senior teachers I have been supporting. It is shared here with permission.
Everyone’s story is different of course – and if you are curious to change yours then please get in touch.

“Hi there
I just wanted to send you a few words that sum up what happened to me.
I could have gone on about my visits to the GP, photographing my swollen joints and rashes so the GP didn’t think I was making things up, it’s quite funny now I’m ‘fixed’  – although it wasn’t at all funny at the time ….. Especially as it was also suggested at one point that my symptoms were psychosomatic…
In 5 months I’ve forgotten how debilitating it can be to have:-

  • intermittent Vertigo,
  • swollen joints that were so painful I couldn’t move them,
  • tendons that pulled my fingers in to make a claw,
  • unexplained rashes
  • and the need to stop driving to have a sleep on the way home from work.

When you work in a school it’s easy to think feeling unwell is an inevitable symptom of stress and part of getting older! But the changes I have experienced since taking the USANA products you recommended have shown me it’s not stress or getting older, it’s nutrition. I just wasn’t getting enough of what my body needed.

I noticed a difference within 2 days of taking the nutritional supplements. Honestly, for me it was that instant.
I’m massively thankful.
It is just so incredible to be several months on now and pain free, sleeping better than I ever have, waking up more easily and not needing to spend 15 mins in the shower every morning trying to make my eyes open. I have more energy and mental clarity and I know I am more ‘on my game’ at work than I have been in years.
Thank you again.”
Inclusion Manager

If you want to explore what might help you thrive then get in touch.

Also check out
Nutrients Helping Children thrive testimony from adoptive parents
Nutritional deficiency and children’s behaviour how nutrients changed a pre-schooler and his family
Improving Immune strength what another teacher noticed

Dear Headteacher… An open letter to a Head about staff wellbeing

Dear Headteacher… An open letter to a Head about staff wellbeing

Dear Headteacher

Before I get on with follow-up emails for everyone I saw this morning, I wanted to take a moment to write and officially thank you.

Thank you

 I want to thank you for the way you are choosing to lead your school.

 Thank you for making time and allowing your staff to have access to training around Essential Health and Safety – the real things everyone needs to know if they are working in a school.

Thank you for allowing them to have time and space to consider themselves in the busyness of school life, and especially end-of-term-itis.

Thank you too, for allowing me to provide initial, confidential follow-up chats with all those that wanted them – during school time.

I recognise that not many other schools out there are doing this, and yet you are making decisions based on your children’s best interests – and you understand that that inherently means the well-being of your staff first and foremost.

 fish - different

I know this way of working may seem like a somewhat ‘different’ approach, as many schools are expecting their staff to cope with the stress, manage themselves, be calm around the children, continue to function at a high level and all without the real information they need to understand HOW to do this.

Obviously what people choose to do with information is their own choice. I just want to acknowledge and thank you for giving your staff the chance to gain more understanding, and have wider choices around supporting their own resilience and well-being.


I thought you might like to know that these comments were all said to me in the 1:1s yesterday and today, or in emails since then:-

“I am so grateful to have this time to think about myself…”

“Just talking to you now I realise that….”

“What you were talking about the other day really connected with me, and I am so glad you are still here to help us with support if we want it – you haven’t just abandoned us.”

“I know it is time to make some changes…”

“That’s a really good idea – I think I could do that…”

“That other lady you were talking about last week…the teacher… I got all of that… she was just like me.”

“That quiz you gave us really made me stop and look at what is happening… what it is like for me.”

“Thank you so much for your time and help.”

“Thank you for spending the time with us all over the past couple of days – I know people have found the discussions valuable. ”

“After our talk I went home and had a really honest conversation with….”

“Thank you for your support – I already feel more positive.”

“Thank you for my session today. I really enjoyed chatting to you. I will have a look at the extra info you have sent me and be in touch asap to take the next step.”

We all know that who we are as people is what makes the biggest impact on the children. I am thoroughly grateful to be able to partner with a school like yours. Children, Health and Emotional Wellbeing ARE all connected and I know you understand this.

I look forward to the ongoing journey we will all make together.

All the best

Claire Wilson

Clinical Director

CHEW Initiatives

Children, Health & Emotional Wellbeing…. because it’s all connected.

I Don’t Have That Badge Anymore – a child free from PTSD

I Don’t Have That Badge Anymore – a child free from PTSD

I don’t think I have ever shared direct words from any of my clients before. I have thought long and hard about doing it now, and the reason I am sharing what this incredible boy wrote as part of our closing process, was because HE wanted it shared. The idea that his experience can inspire school staff to know that children can change, was really important to him. The idea that others – even adults – who still find themselves journeying through PTSD, could be encouraged by his words and his journey was equally important.

“Since working with Claire I have changed in many different ways. I have changed the way I act around people. I have changed the way I see things. Everyday I think about how much Claire has helped me come to be who I always tried to be, how I don’t try to be any body, I don’t even try to be myself – I just be the person I am.

I used to say the words PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) like I had to say it or like I had to make everybody know that I have PTSD, however now I have changed. I no longer wear a badge that says ‘I have PTSD’ because I don’t.  I am not ashamed of having had PTSD nor am I proud. I don’t think about PTSD and I havent even spoke about it in so long because I don’t need to anymore. I feel free from and unleashed from the horrible badge called PTSD.

My time with Claire has been an unforgettable experience and has been a roller coaster, not always easy and not always fun, but for sure it’s one of those one-time life-time changing experiences you just can’t say no to.”

Boy, aged 12,Shared with permission – as he hoped it might encourage others with PTSD that things can change.


Nutrients change children… and families

Nutrients change children… and families

I love, love, love it when we give a child the right level of nutrients their body needs. The changes that can come from this simple step are sometimes quietly significant, and sometimes they are so massive they make me want to shout from the rooftops!

I just got this feedback from one of my team who has been supporting a mum in getting the right levels of right quality nutrients for her eldest boy who is still pre-school (just)!  Another fabulous example of how a child’s nutrition affects their being and therefore their behaviour.

” It was a rocky beginning, but he has been taking his special vitamins every day since beginning of January (7 weeks). Now, he asks for them every morning and puts the next one out for the following day.

What have I noticed? The whole day is ‘less of a battle.’

He seems to listen more and take in what I’m saying.

He seems to have settled down overnight, e.g. before xmas I wouldn’t have dreamed of going into Tesco with him, let alone with my baby as well, granted I don’t do a full shop but I wouldn’t of even stepped through the door before.

I will now walk to the park with him on his bike, something I didn’t think I would do for a long time!

He even asks for his dinner, I couldn’t get him to sit still before, never mind eat!! A trip to McDonald’s with the boys is stress free! We had also stopped going out for meals because of the stress, but we’ve been out twice in the last month and it’s been a joy!

We are now looking forward to our holiday as a family!!

Kacy, Staffordshire