Poetry Therapy

In children's hospices, special needs schools and hospital schools, Philip has been pioneering Poetry Therapy with profoundly disabled children, using his teaching and performance knowledge alongside his intuitive bardic and dramatic vocal and rhythmical skills.

Guided by Music Therapy, he has developed a new therapy based on the musicality and dynamism of the word that helps to evoke and express the feelings and choices of children by listening profoundly to their emotional and spiritual wishes.
His work was featured in an article in The Times which resulted in the donation of £2000 from a lady in Luxembourg. As a result, a new charity - The Alice Fund - was set up, to support the use of poetry in arts therapies for special needs children.

photo of the Fire Poet and Alice

A pioneering therapy has been introduced into The School for Profound Education.

The Fire Poet, otherwise known as Philip Wells has been performing unique poetry to the learners at the school as a way of helping them communicate.

He uses different tones of voice, improvised words and nonsensical language, music and rhythm, while delivering his poetry and says the response from the children has been extraordinary, adding: "The changes in many of the young people have been apparent, many of them becoming more responsive, and effectively communicating. And even if in only a small way, interacting and responding to their surroundings.

"Although they can't form words, some of the learners have started using their voice more, becoming louder and making sounds during the sessions."

Although it is not a completely new therapy, Phil has developed poetry therapy by fusing musicality, dynamics, and tone of voice, rhythm and props which he says is a crucial part of his work.

"It reflects back to childhood behaviour, when a child is in the learning process. By using creative language, juggling syllables, words and rhythms, the children can travel on a journey and express themselves."

Philip's performances are spontaneous and give way for a form of communication which crosses the language barrier, in one-to-one sessions and bigger group sessions.

Music Therapist at the school, Claire Wood, said the introduction of poetry therapy has given them all something new to work with. "Music therapy and poetry complement each other really well," she says.

» Click here to find out more about music therapy at the Trust

"The energy in which he performs is wonderful and what I find so interesting is how both staff and the learners become immersed; it's exciting. He seems to evoke different emotions."

From The Children's Trust, Tadworth