This past summer, I was invited to be the keynote speaker for the Western Region Family Peer Support Retreat in Batavia, New York. This is an annual staff development event for NYS social workers, mental health workers, teachers, caregivers, family members, and others who work with children and families. The focus of the event was on helping parents and children in families with mental health challenges.
First, I gave a short talk about The Wish Horse, and then I screened the film. After the film, we broke the participants up into groups. Each group was assigned a character from the film. For each character, the participants identified the following: strengths, needs, action steps, and who's involved. After finishing the activity, the groups reported their work out to the entire audience and discussed practical ideas for working with families. Watching the participants work through this activity was a truly inspiring learning experience for me! Also, the process gave me some great ideas for future workshops.
Below is a photo of one of the worksheets from the retreat. This group was assigned to discuss the mother in The Wish Horse family.