A Haringey-based counselor is championing a unique approach to anxiety education.
Amy Walshe, a psychodynamic counselor who lives and works in Finsbury Park, is launching a series of drumming workshops at Alexandra Palace specifically for those living with anxiety.
Starting this week (Tuesday, September 20), “Off Beat” – by Amy’s collective Totally Flawed – is a six-week course led by a professional drummer and trained mental health professionals. Participants will be taught the basics of drumming while also learning how to channel these skills to help manage anxiety disorders in everyday life.
Amy said: “Often anxiously we look at people’s breathing. The breath triggers fear in the rest of our body to say, wait a minute, something’s wrong here. It has to do with alerting the body that we are afraid. The good thing about drumming is that it has the beat, so we do breathing exercises to the beat of the drum.”
Amy, who worked in the music industry before opening her practice in Haringey, experienced eating disorders and panic attacks herself from a young age. She signed up for drum lessons during the pandemic and was quick to notice how some of the techniques were benefiting her own mental health.
“A lot of the ways I held my body and the way I sat on the drums were things I could use to educate people about how to deal with anxiety. For example, anxiety tends to increase. Drumming uses the feet, so it has a ground.”
With the growing NHS waiting list for mental health services and the high cost of private counselling, Amy Off sees Beat as an alternative form of mental health support. The sessions cost £60 in total and Amy ran a competition to win a free spot on this month’s course. In the future, she will offer free places to those who need them.
“There is a huge gap where people cannot get help due to NHS waiting lists but cannot afford private counseling. I wanted to build something a little bit in the middle.”
During the six-week period, Off Beat will also offer signpost services directing participants to further mental health support. Amy and her team have already launched two pilot courses with positive feedback and are looking for a means to run Off Beat on a regular basis.
To learn more about Off Beat and to register for future courses, visit: totalflawed.com