I was lucky to attend the ‘Energizing Communication with Troubled Youth’ workshop with Ella de Jong at the Halifax Conference of SFBTA in November 2016.

Accustomed in my everyday practice to primarily verbal conversations with clients, it made a real difference and impact on me to experience the non-verbal, inspiring and creative indeed, input that we all, participants in the event, were able to make. Even today, almost half a year later, I have very vivid memories of the training tasks Ella proposed us to do, and of my own and the other attendees’ actions and reactions.

The association with the Beatles’ song HELP! is simply inevitable when you study her way of energizing therapists and clients! We did different things, coming to realize how many more ways of expressing ourselves and exchanging with clients there are than words alone.

What immediately came to my mind then was Ben Furman’s idea to do a totally verbally-free event with Chinese children. Maybe in some cases and situations we can go without words altogether?! This looks obvious when you take part in Ella’s highly interactive workshop. It was also really such fun and joy for us all! I work rarely with children and teenagers, but now I feel much more comfortable when they attend sessions, knowing how many and diverse ways there are to inspire their hope and to engage their energy in the process of solutions-building.

Thank you, Ella, for the wonderful experience, and I do hope that we meet somewhere again!

Plamen Panayotov, Bulgaria