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Spire's Body Image, Relationships and Sexuality Workshop

2 December, 2016

Body Image, Relationships and Sexuality post-SCI is a part of Spire's larger Health & Wellbeing project that focuses on the importance of understanding, recognising and appreciating that there are concerns, issues, information, lived-experience and knowledge to be shared on these topic areas.

Having already consulted with likeminded people including researchers, consultants and specialists, as well as a representative group of people with lived-experience, Spire has learnt from a diverse range of perspectives and experiences to help progress the project.

On Monday the 29th November 2016 Spire held its first Body Image, Relationships and Sexuality Workshop which included Spire staff, peer-support volunteers and health professionals. The interactive workshop was facilitated by Vanessa Hamilton (Sexual Health Nurse & Educator, Talking the Talk) and Victoria Chipperfield (Director of Stabilise), who shared their wealth of knowledge and facilitated a robust, thought-provoking and interesting conversation.

The group shared their personal experiences, thoughts and ideas, with an overall consensus that a shift is needed around the perception of body image and sexuality and its related issues for a person living with a SCI – in terms of relationships and self-confidence.

"...a shift is needed around the perception of body image and sexuality and its related issues for a person living with a SCI..."

"Areas discussed included the need and desire for closeness, self-expression, confidence-building and openness as well as taboos"

While the conversation varied, some areas that were discussed in more detail included the taboo of these topics, the need and desire for connectedness, closeness, self-expression, confidence building, and openness.

Moving into 2017 Spire is seeking to develop the capacity, skills and knowledge of some of its peer-support volunteers; helping them to create an environment in which someone could choose to talk about these areas if they wish, and then how to respond appropriately with raised knowledge and awareness.

As the Health & Wellbeing project progresses we will further explore the ways in which we can progress the discussion on Body Image, Relationships & Sexuality in a way that would empower people e.g. through the website, social media, blogs, fact sheets, articles and sharing relevant resources and services etc. If you are interested in contributing something within medium such as this, please contact Project Officer, Emma Bloom at [email protected].

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