What is a Youth Doula?
A doula is someone will witnesses and supports others during transitional phases of their life. Originally, doulas focused on the peri-natal: supporting people through their pregnancy and birth journeys. However, more recently doula work has expanded to include death, grief, and trauma.
A Youth Doula bridges that gap between the beginnings and ends of life – where doulas usually focus – understanding that joyful play are important in our personal and collective growth. As a Youth Doula, I support young people through the transformative times of childhood, not as a parent, teacher, therapist, or other “authority” figure, but as a peer.
Additionally, I support adults connect to their childishness, which can be an essential component for healing the disconnection and fragmentation that trauma can leave us with.
I meet my clients as they are, where they are at, by tailoring doula support to their needs.
Youth Doula is a term, role, and praxis coined by me. It is uniquely developed from an anti-ageist, youth liberationist perspective.
The core values of Youth Doula work…
…for the world and ourselves by acknowledging harm felt and harm caused, and by knowing that we are never really “grown-up”.
…by respecting your boundaries, letting you take the lead, seeing you as the authority on your own experiences, and keeping strict confidentiality.
…that connects to childishness, recognises trauma, is experiential and explores with curious creativity.
What is my practice?
Youth Doula work combines play, joy, and healing through an anti-ageist perspective. I centre children and childishness, which is essential when most people who experience traumas and most children have to grow up too fast. We are forced into a world of adulthood “responsibility”, forgoing our need for care — as a youth doula I hope to repair this and help us attend to our age-trauma.
Age-trauma describes an experience specific to anti-child ageism when our autonomy, ability, articulation, emotions, opinions are constantly doubted, called into question or seen as ‘cute’.”— Aiyana Goodfellow, Has Oppression Found A Home in You? A reflective introspection on age-trauma.
Age-trauma (also coined by me) is the result of growing up in an anti-child ageist society; often harm is inescapable particularly because we exist in the disempowered identity of ‘child’. My Youth Doula work recognises all systemic oppression as traumatic on some level and knowing our whole bodyminds are affected by this, I gravitate towards somatic support tools.
Who is it for?
I support young people 14+ through the transformative times of childhood such as navigating the school system; puberty, gender & sexuality; family struggles; internalised ageism; transitioning into adulthood, and more. I work not as a parent, teacher, therapist, or other “authority” figure, but as a peer.
I support adults connect to their childishness, which can be an essential component for healing the disconnection and fragmentation that trauma can leave us with. I can help you navigate difficult parental or familial relationships; building secure attachment; accessing play; tending to childhood wounds; contextualising experiences through oppression dynamics, and more.
I am also available to consult parents, teachers, youth workers, community groups, and families around raising and educating young people, the school system, adult privilege and much more, from my perspective as a teenager. I can give advice around supporting queer & trans, disabled, neurodivergent, Black, or working class children to help you be in better solidarity with the young people you engage with.
What do I offer?
I offer personalised care plans to all my clients. Care plans are 8 weeks long, but can be renewed if you would like to extend our work together.
Your plan could include…
- weekly 1hr support sessions (which can include boundary setting, accountability mapping, emotional witnessing, and much more!)
- resource sharing and signposting
- ongoing email support
- play dates – where do something joyful and childish together (e.g. taking a trip to a waffle house, trampoline park, cooking together, art-making, and much more!)
- additional tasks/activities for between sessions
You may want to focus on a specific experience/transition in your life, or multiple at the same time – all intentions are welcome!
What are my experiences?
I see the importance of both lived and learnt experiences. I use both to guide me as a Youth Doula!
My lived experience includes…
- (internalised) ageism age-trauma;
- ageism in activism spaces;
- parental/familial/cultural disconnection;
- secure parental relationships;
- being a big sibling;
- being raised by a single parent;
- anti-Black racism, anti-queerness and anti-neurodivergency;
- the UK school system;
- issues with peers and teachers at school;
- detention and exclusion;
- and much more!
I have completed multiple workshops and trainings by a range of somatic trauma therapists, activists, researchers, writers, and organisations including crisis response, anti-carceral suicide training, boundary work, and most notably my scholarship-awarded Somatic Attachment Therapy Certificate with The Embody Lab. The list is long, and ever growing, but I will always do additional research whether or not what you need is outside my scope of lived or learnt experience.
How does it work?
After contacting me, we can schedule a free 20min consultation after which, providing we are the right fit, I will send an intake form for you to complete with what particular goals you have for our work together. Then, we can joyfully move forward into your care plan!
I can be flexible with payment options and no-cost spaces are available for those who need it. Please do not hesitate to reach out, especially if you are a young person. Below are examples of what care plans could look like…