Andréa Watts | A Short Story
There was once a small child who loved cutting, gluing and making things.
The small child grew up and while studying Art discovered she was pregnant. She thought that making a baby was the most amazing thing she could do and decided to stop studying.
Eventually she worked for organisations that made no money, but helped lots of people. She liked this but missed creating things so did an Art Therapy Foundation course. Here she learnt useful stuff, like images are really good for exploring and expressing how you feel, what you’re thinking and your ideas. What it looks like isn’t important, it’s the process that matters. She also realised that being an Art Therapist wasn’t her thing!
She applied this knowledge to a new project when asked to run a session to help bereaved carers understand their journey through grief. When she’d said ‘Yes’, her head had screamed ‘NO’, because she had no idea what to do. Then she remembered what she’d learnt from Art Therapy and decided to use collage. Everyone enjoyed and benefitted from it. The next year someone came back with their collage and used it to share their story. This happened three years in a row.*
Fast forward three years and she’s considering changing jobs. She spoke to a clever lady who suggested drawing a picture about her opportunities. So she did, but knew the stick people in her drawing weren’t helping her. Instead she made a collage because it meant cutting and gluing. When she found a picture of a small child under a blanket it made her feel quite sad. Recognising she felt like that child; hidden, stifled and unable to express herself creatively, she decided to leave her job. See the collage and read an in depth version of this part of the story here.
It was time to do something creative. Remembering what she’d learnt at Art Therapy. How the bereaved carers said collaging really helped them and how it had helped her, she thought ‘This could help lots more people’. So she took a leap of faith and created a business called UnglueYou®.
* Without being asked, carers continue to return with their collages to share their stories.
Building a creative coaching practice
I founded UnglueYou® in 2012 and am the first specialist in coaching with collage.
Since starting the business I’ve integrated my knowledge as an artist, training in art therapy, Clean Language, mindfulness and other disciplines to develop the three stage process known as the Collage Coaching Technique™.
From the outset, the approach enabled significant transformational results for my clients. Interested in why, I researched the ‘Science Behind the Art’ and deliver this fascinating topic as an engaging and interactive talk. The presentation encompasses the neurological and psychological ability of images to influence and motivate us to action. This talk served as the foundation and inspiration for my book ‘Collage as a Creative Coaching Tool: A Comprehensive Resource for Coaches and Psychologists’. I still find the process of collage intriguing and as a lifelong learner continue to read as much as I can relating to my favourite topic of collage.
My vision is to ‘See the Collage Coaching Technique™ used globally as a creative coaching tool for releasing people’s potential’
Knowing that other coaches were interested in learning how to use the technique and with an awareness that I cannot achieve my vision without like minded people, I created a training programme. The training is ICF (International Coaching Federation) accredited and is for anyone with a desire to use collage as a creative coaching tool. As increasing numbers of coaches are trained, ever more clients can benefit from this powerful and transformative approach.
Over the years I’ve had the privilege of guest lecturing on psychology courses at several universities in London. These include the position of Honorary lecturer at City, University of London and leading on a Coaching Psychology module at BirkBeck. My involvement with universities led to research being undertaken by students from both Kent, and City. The results from these studies demonstrate the positive impact at work on self-belief, mindfulness and well-being for participants in an UnglueYou® coaching session or workshop.
My mission is to help others understand the nature of creativity so they can explore, nurture and express their creative identity.
Because my coaching approach is arts-based, people understand it as creative. However, I’m passionate about helping others increase their creative confidence. This happens by understanding the nature of creativity as a cognitive process that can be harnessed for problem solving.
With this awareness, you feel encouraged to stretch your comfort zone, take on new challenges and make bolder decisions. Secure in the knowledge that you have the creative skills to find a solution if things don’t turn out as expected.
Coaching with collage is ideal for this purpose, as the three stages of the Collage Coaching Technique™ map perfectly unto how the mind works when thinking creatively. The more you understand and use the process the more easily the skills are transferred beyond the coaching space.
My purpose is to co-create alongside others, facilitating personal transformation, empowerment, trust and growth so they can live a rich and fulfilling life.
The majority of my clients find coaching with collage helps them move to a place of acceptance with their feelings. This means they no longer use energy on an internal battle but can refocus it on their intentions. It also removes the sense of right and wrong, which fuels feeling lost or stuck because you don’t know which way to go.
The value of using collage is that it’s holistic, accessing a range of knowledge that is either not readily available or often overlooked. These include your unconscious and conscious, emotional and rational, embodied and spiritual, intuitive and cognitive wisdom.
My joy comes from helping you become aware of and work with the breadth of your knowledge. Once you do this, you’re able to create and embrace opportunities, moving forward purposefully.
If you’d like to learn more about me, visit my LinkedIn profile.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
— HEBREWS 11:1