Since we were founded in 2008, Soldier On’s work has centred around education, self-awareness, independence and increased well-being.
We were supported with this work for ten years by Professor Jamie Hacker-Hughes, who was the former Head of Defence Clinical Psychology for the UK MoD and a specialist in helping people who have experienced complex trauma. During his time with us, Jamie became the 81st President of The British Psychological Society and after 10 years supporting our work, he stepped down to concentrate on other activities.
Finding someone of his calibre to continue to provide psychological support to the charity was always going to be a hard task, but a vital one. We often work with individuals who have experienced great suffering and despite sometimes feeling that ‘quick-fix’ solutions and high numbers of beneficiaries is what people want from charities, we have tried to ensure people we help have never felt pressured into moving on too quickly and we have never shied away from helping someone we felt would be possibly too challenging to support.
We are therefore absolutely thrilled to announce that Dr Amanda-Jane Wood has agreed to become an Honorary Consultant (Psychology) to Soldier On!
Amanda is an experienced counselling psychologist and accredited EMDR practitioner, who works with adults and young people aged 16 years and above from her Cleveland and London practices. She a has extensive experience of working within a wide range of clinical severity in adult mental health including acute in-patient setting, NHS pain programme, voluntary organisations, domestic violence agency and occupational health.
Amanda has a specialist interest in complex trauma, chronic illness, pain and military mental health. From working with serving military personnel, veterans and their families, she has an awareness of the stigma, culture and values within the military population and how this differs from working with civilians. In 2016, she was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship and spent two months in America researching the provision of psychological support for military families. Amanda attended our conference in Manchester entitled, “Therapy and Well-Being through Heritage Fieldwork?”, so she is familiar with our approach to delivering an activities-based well-being intervention through archaeology projects and understands how seriously Soldier On! takes safeguarding, welfare and personal development. We look forward to seeing her on-site soon!
Amanda said: “I am both delighted and deeply humbled to join the Soldier On! Team as an Honorary Consultant for psychological support.
After meeting with the team and learning more about the inclusive projects offered by Soldier On! it was evident that safeguarding and psychological support during their activities is paramount and taken very seriously.
As a psychologist, I was impressed that participation is encouraged across a diverse background which builds community cohesion between people in need due to chronic illness, disability, financial hardship and social isolation. Alternatively, vulnerable individuals may find it difficult to cope in group situations and require additional support on-site.
I am excited about the archaeology and heritage project and am aware how such activities alongside personal development programmes can assist individuals on their road to recovery. They can have fun at the same time whilst increasing self-esteem, self-confidence and awareness.
I am looking forward to meeting participants on the next Soldier On! archaeological dig in Summer 2019. I hope to engage in conversation with participants and learn about their personal experiences of this exciting and innovative programme.
See you all on-site soon!