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Shaping our own destiny

By mastering ourselves, we can forge our own destiny. It actually represents the ultimate goal of our lives. Letting go means realising that some individuals are just part of history, no longer suitable and significant for here and now, and not part of our destiny.  Everyone has different dream, wish, hope, ambition, mission and vision. Therefore, not all people we met along the way will be with us and to walk alongside us to our valuable journey. Sometime we need to be alone on road less travelled, to avoid conflict, for our own peaceful to chase a miracle bestowed only for us.  


Azizah, I am sure you will learn valuable new knowledges. As Rogers stated, open yourself to new experiences, meeting new different peoples, your perspective about life and people will be different.”

Prof Emeritus Dato` Dr. Amir Awang, Former Lecture for Master Degree, and Supervisor for Thesis & Internship, as well as a reader for my PhD revised Thesis prior resubmitted. (2007 & 2015).


 “You are doing great Azzy. You did a big move to Scotland to study about Creative Arts, I am sure you will gain new fascinating knowledges to bring home. I admirer your passion to study this area, and I hope that we can meet in person when you coming to USA in future.”

Prof Samuel Gladding, Wake Forest University, North Carolina, USA (2007)

 “Azzy, I really impress of how you make efforts to explore about Person-Centred Expressive Arts Therapy. I recommend you meet Dinah Brown from England & Tess Sturrock from Wales. Both travelled to USA to learn with me, and you can learn from them. I will send you CD & DVD from my work on PCEAT as long as you promise to extend and expand in your country”

Dr Natalie Rogers, Saybrook Graduate School, California, USA, Personal Communication via email (2008)

 “You have everything here, a very supportive and person-centred supervisors, places to learn and enhance your creativity, and freedom to explore more in-depth about your research area. Make use all of its for unexpected outcomes”

Anonymous study buddy, Glasgow, Scotland, UK (2008)

 “I want you to have real experiences of how Person-Centred Expressive Arts Therapy work. Then only you can feel it and fully understand the therapeutic power of PCEAT taught by Natalie. So today we will practice together, and you are free to do any expressive movement or drawing you want”.

Tess Sturrock, Expressive Arts Trainer, Cardiff, Wales, UK (2008)

“Azzy, I want you to join our creative support group and learn more about creative therapies. I am sure you will enhance your knowledge and skills within the group process. I am willing to support your study and research as much as I can”

German Creative Therapist, Bath, England, UK (2008)

"I think it’s quite interesting when you think about being person-centred and working in this way. I think one of the important things at the beginning of the session when you say, “Do you want to use this”. Do you make a suggestion, do you let it come very naturally, in a non-directive way".

Person-Centred Play Therapist, Kent, England, UK (2008)

"So I’ve given you a flavour of all the different angles, different creative approaches. But, at a later stage, if there’s anything you want to know, or are not clear about, just contact me again. I will try my best to supports you".

Person-centred Creative Therapist, Liverpool, England, UK (2008)

"I’m a drama therapist and art psychotherapist, so I use art, drama, music, dance movement and play with young people. If you can engages and experiences yourself, you will understand more how its work, also I suggest you look for supervision. Supervision will help you on track".

 Person-Centred drama therapist and art psychotherapist, London, England, UK (2010).

"While I’m a person-centred psychologist, my wife and I were both directors of the Carl Rogers Centre for Studies  here in San Diego where Carl lived until he died, basically. I am sure the more you read about Carl`s works, you will appreciates and more passionate working in person-centred way. We really care about people, we will care with our heart and soul. Listen to your voice, I can see you can be a great person-centred practitioner when you go back to Malaysia"

Joachim, Professor and  person-centred psychologist, California, USA (2010)

"I did a year long practical at the Chicago Counselling Centre that was the out growth of Carl Rogers originally. So I really embodied person-centred approach in my counselling with children and young people. When you add with creative materials as tool to engage with them, that might make the session more easy for you Azzy. And I also have another person – a few more people in Chicago who work with young people using creative approaches. I will introduce them to you, if that can help for your research".

Cathy, person-centred counsellor using creative arts, Chicago, USA (2011).

Those who helped behind the scenes throughout the PhD journey. Excerpt from the thesis (Azizah Abdullah, 2015), School of Psychological Sciences & Health, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom                                                                     



Praise to ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY for the Mercy bestowed on me that allowed this project to be successfully completed.


A million special thanks to Prof. Mick Cooper and Prof. Robert Elliott, two outstanding supervisors, who are very highly committed and responsive, for facilitating and guiding me, and for patiently encouraging me when times were too tough and difficult in my life.  Working with both of you was really a remarkable moment, and with your extraordinary support, I was able to move forward. All your kindness and sincere support will always remain green in my memory.


Much appreciation also goes to Prof. Emeritus Dato’ Dr Amir Awang, who patiently reviewed and edited my thesis revision since I returned home. Your support and encouragement will never fade in my memory. May ALLAH bless you now and hereafter.


Much appreciation also goes to The Northern University of Malaysia (Universiti Utara Malaysia, UUM), and the Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia for their generosity in sponsor my study abroad.


Dr Brian Rodgers, tireless and hard-working, for guiding, motivating, and challenging me. Thanks also for keeping me focused telling the story of my own research, and not allowing me to give up and abandon this project.


Grateful thanks also go to Dr Marc Obonsawin, Postgraduate Research Coordinator from School of Psychological Sciences and Health, Susan McKenna from Student Advisory and Counselling Services, Melanie Farris from the International Office, and Colin Flynn from Disability Services for additional support throughout my studies.


To all the practitioners in the UK and the US: all of you are the main contributors to new knowledge and my research; thanks for being to share your remarkable experiences. Some of you offered me extra experiential learning and training. I appreciate the inviting and welcoming atmosphere in many private play and creative arts therapy rooms.


Not to be forgotten: William Cairns and Sandra Dow for transcribing my interview data. Micaela Maftae from University of Glasgow, Joanne Cummings and Mary McDonough proofread my thesis.


Dr Natalie Rogers from Saybrook Graduate School, California, for her generosity provided very helpful materials (DVD and CD) to enhance my knowledge and skills in person-centred expressive arts therapy. Prof. Samuel Gladding of Wake Forest University, USA for providing resource and information of wider person-centred creative practice in the US.


I am grateful to the committee members of Australian/New Zealand Art Therapy Association ( ANZATA) and International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA) for acknowledge my contribution into the field, welcoming me to creative arts communities across the globe, and supports me very well.


I also wish to thanks Daniel Marcus- NHS Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Ruth, Sandra, Pamela, Tabassum , and a few others, for supporting me throughout my tremendous and challenging life in Glasgow. 


I am grateful with the support from Charlie Cornell, my Scottish friend, and Melissa Taylor, my close Australian friend who always remind’s me to never give up, thanks for a valuable friendship. 


I began this project in memory of the late Sheikh Haji Ali Haji Yaacob, my former lecturer and mentor from the Undergraduate program at Agriculture University of Malaysia (now, University of Putra, Malaysia). Thanks a lot for exposing me to the counselling world and demonstrating for me that the person-centred approach parallels the Muslim approach for `nasihah` almost two decades ago. I will always remember your positive attitudes, and your Malaysian version of Carl Roger`s model of practice.


A few organisations in Glasgow including Women Library, LINKES, White Inch Community Centre, COPE (Caring Over People Emotions), NHS Mental Health Primary Teams, Wise Women, Kelvin Grove Arts Gallery and Museum, to name a few, providing me valuable experiential learning that enriched my knowledge and skills in creative arts. 


Last but not least, my three children who always make me believe in the therapeutic power of creative arts approaches. Our arts and play sessions are always fun and strengthen our relationship. At times, the three of you felt abandoned, however you always understood and found ways to help mummy finish the ‘homework’. Our time together exploring selected toys and arts materials inspired me. I am particularly grateful to the teachers at Cloverbank Nursery School, Scotstoun Primary School, and Knightswoods Secondary School for supporting my children learning and development with Scottish Curriculum for Excellences.         

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