This month, we feel very privileged to share the story of 9-year-old Ashley* through her own words. Ashley was deep in grief after losing her grandfather, but she couldn’t express it except by flying into a rage. When she made a very sad painting at school, her parents thought it might be time to seek counselling for her.

Family Works counsellor Wendy used art to help Ashley express her thoughts. Ashley chose clay as a medium and painted on canvas. But most importantly, Ashley discovered that she loved to create something beautiful out of her own experience and emotions through writing.

“This is my life.

When I came to counselling at first, I was really scared that I wouldn’t be good at anything or that nobody would like me. But at my first meeting I was having fun already… it was so fun, everything.

I was also really like proud of myself too because I was trying something.

I used to get angry like really quickly but now I still get angry but I don’t get like grrrrrrrrrr… So at first we were doing painting and talking about our emotions and how we could solve it. I learnt a lot more about conflict and how bad it was, especially at school and how much stuff I have caused so I just, I stopped and I listened and I did, I just stopped.

I thought it was fun learning how to calm down and doing fun stuff as well and then I brought writing into the process and I got to do what I love. I started writing stories about counselling and every body’s reading it and stuff and now I am writing a whole book about it.

It’s just been amazing. …talking about it, just talking to people that LISTEN. 

I came here because I wrote a story about my granddad. I guess I wrote it because when he died we never got to talk to him, we never got to spend time with him, me and my sister, because he was mostly looking after the farm that my grandma lived on.  I just want you to know a little brief piece of what the whole story is about and just give you one last piece of advice, to just NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS. I wanted to be an author and now I’m doing this, so yea sometimes you are really good at something and you don’t even realise it but when you actually do, you’re like hmmm this is really fun. I like writing, I could do it for a living.

(* Ashley Jordyn – my chosen ‘writer’s name’)”.