Sparkle in the Light is a small, Stroud-based, social enterprise specialising in supporting children & young people, their schools & families in understanding & responding to social, emotional & mental health difficulties.
Sparkle in the Light was founded by Juliette Ttofa in 2019 in order to make a difference to the lives of children & young people affected by trauma or other social, emotional and mental health needs.
Juliette is a specialist educational psychologist and she specialises in the area of social, emotional and mental health needs, especially developmental trauma, attachment needs and emotional resilience. She is also a mum of two, a qualified secondary school teacher and a practising psychotherapist.
Juliette offers training on a range of topics, therapeutic support, and assessment and consultancy, all of which aim to promote resilience and bring about healing. She is also passionate about using the expressive arts in order to support children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Juliette is a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS), an HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist and a Registered Sandplay Therapist.
She is the author of several published books about social-emotional wellbeing, resilience and mental health, including the guidebook for schools ‘Nurturing Emotional Resilience in Vulnerable Children and Young People‘, and accompanying resources including, ‘How Monsters Wish to Feel’, ‘Monster Moods Cards’ and a ‘Nurturing Resilience Card Deck‘ (coming soon). In addition, Juliette has recently published a new therapeutic storybook called ‘The Girl Who Lost the Light in Her Eyes’, which comes with a guide on using the expressive arts with children who have experienced loss. A further storybook about trauma, ‘The Silent Selkie’, and guide to using the expressive arts therapeutically with children who have experienced trauma, is due to be published by Routledge in 2021.
Skills & Interests
As well as being passionate about supporting schools with ongoing training and consultancy in the area of children’s social, emotional and mental health needs, Juliette spends much of her week working therapeutically with vulnerable children and young people who present with a range of challenging behaviours and / or emotional or mental health needs.
Juliette is a Registered Sandplay Therapist (STR) with the Association for Sandplay Therapy (AST). Juliette has also accessed specific specialist training from the Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre in how to use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) effectively with young people who present with mental health issues such as self-harm, anxiety, depression and low mood. She is very interested in the healing potential of meditation and has undertaken a Mindfulness course with Mindfulness West, as well as training with Relax Kids.
More recently, Juliette has become interested in promoting grassroots ‘relational activism‘ in order to build resilient children and communities. She is committed to championing the value of relational approaches in her work in the local community and in advocating for the needs and rights of vulnerable young people. As a result, Juliette has developed a new training course for schools to deepen their awareness of adversity, trauma and the resiliency-enabling approaches that are vital in supporting young people to do well, despite their risk factors (“REACH”). For more information please see the Training page.
Juliette’s areas of particular specialism include:
– Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
– Developmental Trauma
– Trauma Informed Practice
– Nurturing Approaches
– Parent-Infant Attachment
– Attachment Needs
– Understanding Self-Harm
– Using the Expressive Arts Therapeutically
Background & Experience
Juliette has twenty five years’ experience working with vulnerable children and young people and a long-standing interest in developing an insight into the complex issues surrounding developmental trauma, attachment needs and emotional resilience.
After the experience of teaching disadvantaged students in France for a year as part of her degree when she was just twenty, Juliette was inspired to complete her initial teacher training and begin a career as a history teacher in an Oxford secondary school in 1999. She quickly developed an interest in supporting the most challenging and vulnerable students in her care and decided to leave teaching to pursue a career in psychology.
In particular, she was curious to better understand how school staff could help young people with emotional needs to engage in education. She undertook two Masters Degrees in psychology and focused her research dissertations on how schools could support young people who self-harm, and later, how schools could promote the resilience of disaffected young people at risk of exclusion. This led onto her interest in the key protective factors that buffer vulnerable young people from adversity and risk, and increase their long-term emotional resilience.
Juliette began her career as a psychologist working as an assistant educational psychologist in Newport, South Wales, for a year. Part of this role involved supporting research into the effectiveness of Nurture Groups in disadvantaged areas of the city. Alongside this work, she completed a certificate in the theory and practice of Nurture Groups. This was formative in developing Juliette’s awareness of the role of attachment-based, nurturing approaches in the healthy development and resilience of vulnerable children.
During her ten years as a Local Authority educational psychologist for Worcestershire County Council, supporting vulnerable students with a wide range of additional needs, Juliette continued to develop a specialist interest in early child development and the importance of secure attachment relationships between children and caring adults for long-term resilience. After having her first baby, she was motivated to research the importance of nurturing touch and face-to-face interaction in attachment development so received backing to train as a Certified Infant Massage Instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage.
Following this, keen to share these insights with other parents and carers, she developed an early parenting training package for Children Centre staff that taught the building blocks of parent-infant attachment (‘Together Time’), which was commissioned by Worcestershire Children’s Centres in 2007. More recently, Juliette has carried out initial two-day training in Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) and is keen to use this approach to support positive, attuned interactions, both in families and in schools.
In 2014, Juliette began working for Gloucestershire County Council’s educational psychology service. Juliette was given the role of specialist senior educational psychologist for social, emotional and mental health in 2016 and in this position she led on developing workforce training in trauma informed approaches, attachment development, resilience, emotional literacy (ELSA), self-harm, sensory approaches and effective therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and Sandplay Therapy.
Qualifications/ Training/ Memberships
- BA Hons Degree (History, French, Italian)
- PGCE Teaching Qualification (History Secondary)
- MEd Psychology in Education with Distinction
- MEd Educational Psychology with Distinction
- Certificate in the Theory and Practice of Nurture Groups (nurtureuk)
- Certified Infant Massage Instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM)
- Diploma in Trauma & Mental Health Informed Schools (TISUK)
- Registered Sandplay Therapist (STR) with the Association for Sandplay Therapy (AST)
- Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) with BPS
- Registered Practitioner Psychologist with Health & Care Professionals Council (HCPC)
Supervision & Personal Development
Juliette receives ongoing supervision for her therapy role and work as an educational psychologist.
Juliette considers that growth and healing is an ongoing journey and possesses a strong commitment to her own personal development. She has completed individual psychotherapy and uses bodywork, energy healing, acupuncture, the expressive arts, meditation and yoga to maintain her own wellbeing.
Juliette has an enhanced DBS disclosure certificate and is fully insured.
Guiding Principle & Values
Juliette is passionate about promoting the use of psychology and nurturing approaches to support young people’s personal growth & development, as well as their emotional resilience, so that they are enabled to lead positive and fulfilling lives. As such, Sparkle in the Light aims to be an ethical social enterprise that promotes relational activism and trades only in order to raise awareness of social, emotional or psychological issues so as to improve the life chances of children and young people.
The guiding principle of Sparkle in the Light is the concept of ‘The Children’s Fire‘. The Children’s Fire is a pledge to the welfare of children and challenges us to put the welfare of children before any decision we make as an organisation as follows: No law, no decision, no action, nothing of any kind will be permitted… that will harm the children. For more information about The Children’s Fire, click here.
Trustworthiness & transparency
Collaboration & mutuality
Empowerment & choice
Cultural, historical & gender issues
Why Sparkle in the Light?
Juliette believes that we all have an innate and unique creative spark (or spirit) that runs through us and connects us all to each other, and to the natural world and cosmos. Given the right environment, we have the ability to access this creative energy and life force, and allow it to sparkle to its full brilliance, which is our natural state of being.