Founder of Autism Movement Therapy® Inc. Joanne Lara will be in the UK this April to run AMT® certification workshops that will be open to ALL. With no dance experience required to participate the author of Autism Movement Therapy® Method: Waking up the Brain! will guide attendees through this unique program that outlines the functions of the brain specifically pertinent to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and shows how music and independent movement can help strengthen the body and brain connection. This practical and positive programme will give all comers the techniques needed to use AMT® effectively in a range of environments and will provide all who complete the course with a certificate.
This includes information on our new and bestselling titles such as ‘Mindfulness and the Arts Therapies’ by Laury Rappaport and ‘Using Art Therapy with Diverse Populations’ by Paula Howie. This range includes practical books for professionals, manuals on how to incorporate creative approaches into practice as well as guides for individuals who are themselves affected.
To receive a free copy of the catalogue, please sign up for our mailing list and we’ll get one out to you right away. You may also request multiple copies to share with friends, family, colleagues and clients–simply note how many copies you would like (up to 20) in the ‘any additional comments’ box on the sign-up form.
We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to get more information about our outstanding new titles such as ‘Presence and Process in Expressive Arts Work’ by Herbert Eberhart. The catalogue also features information on bestselling titles such as ‘A Guide to Research Ethics for Art Therapists & Health Practitioners’ by Camilla Farrant and ‘The Expressive Arts Activity Book: A Resource for Professionals’ by Suzanne Darley.
To request a copy of the JKP complete catalogue of books on Art Therapy, please click here to fill out our sign-up sheet. Please be sure to click any additional areas of interest as well. You should receive a copy of the catalogue within two weeks.
Anna Chesner, co-author of Creative Supervision Across Modalities, explains why using creativity in supervision sessions can benefit both the supervisor and supervisee, and gives her top tips for any therapist or helping professional new to using this approach.
Why is the use of creativity so effective in supervision sessions?
Creativity helps to link right brain and left brain understanding of practice. Often as practitioners we may have a feeling of stuckness, or going round in circles. Using creative methods helps us to facilitate new perspectives and fresh energy.
How can creative supervision ensure that a fresh perspective is maintained in supervision sessions, and how does this benefit the supervisor and supervisee?
Creative supervision can bring a new perspective and fresh energy to reflecting on our clinical or other professional practice. This in term can bring fresh energy and clarity to our sessions with clients. If supervision itself lacks vitality it may become part of the problem, rather than facilitating possible solutions.
In chapters 2 and 3 of your new book you write about the importance of roles in creative supervision – why is this? Which of the roles you mention do you think it is most difficult for a new supervisor to take on? Is there one that they tend to slip into more easily?
Not so much roles as an understanding of role (singular). The concept of role helps us to think about our “way of being” and our clients’ way of being. It is a practical tool for looking at patterns of behaviour and relating. Supervisor’s need an awareness of the multiple roles they may inhabit as a supervisor, and in the best case some role flexibility. Similarly, practitioners from all fields can benefit from thinking about their own roles in their practice, and indeed the roles of their clients within their various systems.
What is the most challenging thing you have to cover with trainee supervisors? What is it that they usually struggle most with in terms of incorporating creativity into sessions?
Supervision trainees have firstly to meet the challenge of getting to grips with the role of supervisor, which is distinct from their more familiar roles as clinician. There is an added challenge in learning how to use creative techniques in a way that is a spontaneous response to the supervisory question or focus and remains firmly within the frame of supervision.
Why is it that ‘irrational’ thinking can be such a crucial part of the creative process?
Not so much irrational as out of awareness, or known only implicitly. Face to face clinical work involves the practitioner in complex, multi-layered interactions, where physical or felt sense, and imagination are as important as the actual words spoken. Our right brain awareness can be brought to light particularly well through creative approaches to supervision.
You mention several times the importance of establishing a clear focus in the supervisory session – why is this?
A clear focus or supervisory question is helpful for a number of reasons. It ensures transparency about what kind of help or reflection opportunity is being sought. It supports a collaborative approach between supervisor and supervisee. It reveals the level at which a supervisee is able to reflect on and articulate their process.
What are the top tips you would give to a supervisor who is new to using creativity in their sessions?
– Reflect on your own interventions in the light of supervision theory
– Bring your creative supervision practice to your own supervision space
– Remain open to new learning
– Undertake training in the use of creative supervision methods
In this Q&A Jill Hayes, author of ‘Soul and Spirit in Dance Movement Psychotherapy’, explains why a transpersonal approach to Dance Movement Psychotherapy is so effective and shares her memories of a client whose work with soul and spirit allowed her to recover from addiction.
How do you write about the connection between body, movement and soul?
I offer a particular perspective on the body and its movement as connected/joined to other living bodies and other living forms in nature. The body-self which feels and responds spontaneously and intuitively in relationship with other unique forms is given the name: soul. Soul is therefore the first response to being in the world as a separate living form. Sensitive and mobile, resonant and feeling, soul is born from the intelligent body, as a complete system.
Soul gets covered and becomes inactive/deadened by conventional, habitual response patterns. So to awaken movement from inside the body is to find a way back to soul: the creative core inside the living body.
What is it about the model of ego-soul-spirit that is so important in relation to DMP? How does it impact upon the bridges between them?
DMP makes bridges between ego, soul and spirit because all these aspects of self can becomes awake and conscious through moving bodies in the therapeutic relationship. DMP thrives on the premise of transitional space, constantly weaving connections between the felt-sense of life and the imaginings and thoughts about life. Articulating sensing, feeling, imagining and thinking is what DMP practitioners are trained to do.
Re-imagining and re-naming aspects of self as ego, soul and spirit provides vocabulary which can convey mysterious and sacred aspects of experience which are often neglected and sidelined in contemporary mental health practice. Recognising and asserting the conditions and the process through which mysterious healing occurs is important in re-conceiving and re-appraising potential methods for creating mental and physical wellness.
Mental health frameworks tend to favour observable, logical methods of practice. Sadly this cuts out a wealth of possibilities for healing. The invisible, the subtle, the energetic and ultimately the inexplicable need to be included in frameworks of wellness, for without them the palette of possibility dries up and is reduced to a few pale colours.
DMP awakens soul because it encourages participation of the whole body system in the process of change: it awakens the organs, the glands, the skin, the bones, the muscles, the fluids; it enlivens spirit through its attention to the flow of blood, the flow of breath and the flow of vibration through the living body, and it develops ego which listens to soul and spirit, inviting a mindful approach to appreciating and reflecting upon the felt sense of movement inside the body.
Describe the transpersonal approach to DMP and the experiential focus. Why is this so effective?
Transpersonal DMP is so effective because it contains a deep respect for a living process which happens despite the rational ego. It makes a place for the mysterious, inviting it to manifest in the therapeutic process. The welcoming of the mysterious brings new possibilities which cannot be thought by the rational ego, but can be imagined by the psyche (a potential for imagining which is not limited by the experience of the ego) and felt in the soul body (which is joined to a living process uncapped by the separate self).
Transpersonal DMP invites the client to enter a creative flowing stream of potential growth and expansion through body, movement and imagination. Endlessly flowing and changing, movement and imagination create new pathways for the mover who trusts in the unknown and who can follow the call of unknown movement and unknown images.
Such transpersonal process is different to working with someone according to a rational theory. Theory often provides a rational pathway for the therapist to follow, offering a rational logic upon which to base interventions and to draft interpretations. Transpersonal practice rejects such assurances and puts its trust in an unfolding process which cannot be predicted, which offers riddles and confusions and surprises in equal measure.
In transpersonal practice the psychotherapist must give up looking for certainty and come home to uncertainty, to not knowing, to not being the expert, to being simply another vulnerable human being sharing an experience with the client. If both the therapist and the client can call up soul in the living body to provide clues to healthy living for the client, then that is enough. Entering into the experience of soul and spirit together is what makes the changes. It is effective because the creation of a flowing mobile relationship provides an axis of change. When both partners commit to being open to soul and spirit, a current of change is called into the process, inviting healing from the core of all life.
The Jungian vision of psyche as imaginal flow of change is present in this model: images pop up and startle the mover, guiding the moving body into relationship with patterns of balance and change, highlighting what is missing, what needs attention, what needs integration. Imagery is embodied and moved to expand the possibilities for growth and change.
How does the book explore soul and spirit?
The book explores soul and spirit both practically and theoretically, shaking the terms free from past cultural and religious contexts, but retaining their essential association with a sacred, mysterious movement of change. Case studies are used to illustrate the presence of soul and spirit in therapeutic practice. They exemplify how soul and spirit awaken a creative process of change.
Are there any cases of working with clients in this way that stick out in your mind? Why is this?
The case study of Lauren (Chapter 6) endures in my mind because she was able to work with soul and spirit to recover from addiction. In the containment of our joint commitment to her healing, Lauren was able to listen to her inner body (her soul) to understand that for growth and peace she needed to develop love and respect for her creative core.
First using images of psyche, which were strange, beautiful, frightening and unknown to her, Lauren moved and drew them to let them flourish and communicate, so that she became aware of the patterning of her extrovert self in the world, as well as aware of her inner potential, which lay frozen and unrealized inside.
Then through somatic practice, initially alone and then increasingly with me (intuitive tactile connection informed by many sources: Body Mind Centering, Authentic Movement, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Mindfulness) Lauren delved deeper into her soul and deeper still to find spirit, realigning herself with spirit, listening to her need to connect fluidly, responsively, respectfully and truthfully with the world around her.
To move forward with integrity, Lauren needed to accept herself as she was. To accept herself as she was required the development of love, as joy felt in witnessing life in her own unique form. Without affirmation from an external source through touch, energetic resonance, parallel emotional sensing and imaginative empathy, it would have been hard for Lauren to love herself. A therapeutic relationship potentially provides a core relationship of growth which the client has perhaps never before experienced. This core relationship in which the client’s life and creativity is loved by the therapist, energizes the client’s commitment to her own life, so that she comes to appreciate that she has all she needs inside her to find her own way, because her body soul is sacred, it joins her to all life. She becomes capable of unraveling the past and unfolding the present trusting that the impetus from her core is a sacred impetus which will unfold her potential creatively and without distortion, so that she can become who she was intended to be; she understands that propelled by body and psyche, her blueprint will fulfill itself.
JKP was delighted to attend the launch of Dramatherapy with Myth and Fairy-tale: The Golden Stories of Sesame by Jenny Pearson, Mary Smail and Pat Watts at Central School of Speech and Drama in North London on Saturday 15th June.
The launch was crowded with the authors’ colleagues, former students, friends and family, all keen to celebrate this exceptional book – among them Alida Gersie, who wrote the foreword, and JKP author, Sue Jennings. Jenny Pearson and Mary Smail regaled their audience with anecdotes of myth and fairytale in action, as well as reminiscences of Sesame days past. We were treated to two a cappella myth-based songs by Frankie Armstrong, world renowned singer and Voice Workshop leader, who also opened the occasion with a rendition of the warm-up song, ‘The Little Green Frog’ (with help from Jenny’s young grandson, Dylan).
The event was preceded by ‘Pat Fest’ – a tribute to Pat Watts, one of the authors, who unfortunately did not get to see the finished book, but who was responsible for committing her share of the stories to paper (originally on scraps of paper and envelope backs, as her co-authors revealed at the launch!). As a key figure in the history of the Sesame course and the creator of its first Myth element, many people came to rejoice in Pat’s remarkable work and legacy, and she was honoured with an enactment of ‘The Flowering Tree’ facilitated by Jeni Treves and Alison Kelly, coordinators on the Creative Arts supervision training course (CAST).
It was a hugely enjoyable evening and a wonderful way to celebrate this special book.
Below are a selection of pictures from the event:
Jenny Pearson, co-author of ‘Dramatherapy with Myth and Fairytale’, explains how this extract, from one of the chapters written by the late Pat Watts, expertly guides the reader through the process of preparing groups to enter into the realms of imagination, ready to begin a myth enactment.
“The myths and fairytales in this book are stories from long ago that have survived the centuries because they have been loved and because they carry wisdom and healing. They have survived because people have told them to their children and grandchildren who have remembered them, written them down, created books and plays, dances and films around them, and told them to their children.
In the drama and movement therapy practiced by the authors of this book, the stories take the form of simple, straightforward scripts. The opening chapters take the reader through the experience of entering into the stories as improvised drama and living them in role. The Sesame approach to myth enactment requires no previous experience of ‘acting’ or ‘dance’. Participants are invited into a given space and taken, step by step, toward and over the threshold that leads into the realm of imagination.
This is how Pat Watts, who created the Myth module of the Sesame training at Central School of Speech and Drama, describes the process of entry into that magical Land.”
John Killick demonstrates some of the playfulness techniques showcased in his new book, Playfulness and Dementia: A Practice Guide in the video below.
Professor Dawn Brooker, Director of the Association for Dementia Studies, University of Worcester says:
“This book tickled my fancy. Just as many lonely hearts advertisements specify a GSOH as their top priority in a soulmate, I would specify the same requirement for those providing support and care to me and my family. This is not to trivialise the experience of living with dementia, but rather a recognition that laughter can help us through the most difficult places. This book is full of ways to connect people through fun. There is nothing disrespectful or silly about the words in this book. It is full of compassion and honesty. It will supply you with a springboard to joy.”
Watch Playfulness and Dementia in action:
On 29th June 2012 Claire Schrader hosted a celebration of Ritual Theatre: The Power of Dramatic Ritual in Personal Development Groups and Clinical Practice.
The evening involved presentations and performance from the book’s contributors, including pioneer dramatherapist Dr. Sue Jennings.
Claire Schrader says: “It was my intention with this event not just to launch the book but to honour the spirit of ritual theatre – the spirit that is in ritual theatre – and a topic that is very close to my heart. I am grateful for all those that rallied round to support this event – which was truly a co-collaboration.”
See photos from the event and read Claire’s reflections here:
And watch a video of Claire’s introductory speech here:
Claire Schrader is director of Making Moves, a personal development company that offers ritual theatre workshops and programmes. She has been involved in personal development work for over 25 years and has also trained as a core process shamanic practitioner. She has an established background in theatre having worked as a playwright, a performer and a teacher in UK drama schools.
Here, Claire writes in depth about her new book, Ritual Theatre: The Power of Dramatic Ritual in Personal Development Groups and Clinical Practice, what ritual theatre has meant to her personally, and why modern society may need this ancient practice now more than ever.
You’ve had a very interesting career. Can you talk about the path that led you to writing this new collected volume on ritual theatre?
I had my first awakening in the theatre. It was the first place where I first felt truly alive at a time when I was really lost. My first career was in nursing and I was square peg in a round hole. It was the theatre that brought me alive. Steve Mitchell refers to Petruska Clarkson concept of “physis”, the life force – it is a botanic term meaning the force in nature that enables a plant to grow. The ritual aspects of theatre was stimulating this life force in me which was enabling me like a seed to reach up from that dark place and find the light. It set the course of my life.
It wasn’t until much later when I started acting that I began to experience this life force in a more real way and it became a place of serious healing for me. At the time I had bucket loads of repressed emotions and I was sick of living my life on the sidelines. Performing liberated me – it was safe place for me to express emotions that were deeply buried me and gradually a completely “new me” began to emerge.
I went into the theatre professionally and for a while it was a very empowering experience. I was growing and developing at a fast rate, but then just as my career was taking off I got cast as the lead in a production at the Edinburgh Festival. In the rehearsal process the director took me into a very dark place – except it wasn’t acting. It was a kind of psychodrama without the healing element. He didn’t know the damage he was doing and I was in a terrible state for years afterwards – seriously depressed, and all the acting opportunities I had crumbled away.
So I started to write. I thought I could do a better job than the play that had brought me so much grief, and it became another kind of healing journey for me. I was delving into my unconscious and mythic elements started creeping in. It became a piece of ritual theatre – even though I didn’t know what ritual theatre was then. It was a natural expression for me, which came through in all my plays.
When I trained in dramatherapy, all these elements came together. I experienced ritual theatre as a potent healing force, and I wished I had known about it when I was going through my dark time. I would have got over it so much quicker. So when I qualified and started running public groups and workshops for people like me who wanted a more creative way to heal, I found myself turning to ritual theatre – because it was so effective. I became more and more interested in Joseph Campbell’s work, I worked with Malidoma Somé, I trained in shamanism, read loads of Jungian authors – and all these began to get into the work. I was amazed at the healing that was achieved for people through offering them a safe space and permission to visit those dark archetypal places so that they could find the stillness that lies at the “eye of the storm”.
And so after fifteen years of doing this I began to feel that it was important to document these discoveries and share them with others. And since there was no core text on ritual theatre, I brought together leading ritual theatre exponents such as Sue Jennings, Steve Mitchell, and Roger Grainger, along with newer voices. I was meeting US dramatherapists who were doing important work whilst I was out in America and so I saw the opportunity to bring US and UK dramatherapists together in the one book. When I met Saphira Linden, who had been producing ritual theatre performances since the seventies, I was inspired by what she had achieved and so was delighted to include two chapters on two of these productions, which demonstrates the power of ritual theatre on a very big scale.
So this is how I came to edit a book on ritual theatre. Looking back on it now, it feels like the most natural things for me to do. A kind of destiny – something I was meant to do and my life would have been the poorer without it.
Can you talk about the book, and its underlying thesis?
Ritual theatre is one of the most ancient form of healing that is still practiced in tribal societies today. As Sue Jennings points out, from earliest times ancient people healed themselves and explored what they couldn’t understand about the world through dramatic ritual. The book is saying that this is still relevant today, in fact it’s never been more important. The faster our world becomes, the further advances we make in science and technology, the more we need to return to our essential roots. Malidoma Somé says it very forcefully: “the Western Machine Technology is the spirit of death made to look like life”. He says we need to return to our spiritual roots and this is achieved most effectively through ritual. So it’s no surprise that in this modern age people are returning to ritual and to tribalism and this is being expressed most potently in youth culture.
So the book is about how ritual theatre can be expressed in a contemporary way that fits in with the way our lives are. People are hungering for this because the technological age is making us more and more disconnected, more in our heads and this is producing tremendous suffering under the labels of stress, fatigue and health problems. Ritual theatre along with the Arts Therapies counteract this. So the book includes ways in which ritual theatre is being brought into hospitals, institutions and work with marginal groups as well as to the general public.
You have formulated a personal development application of dramatherapy – myth-a-drama – and personal development is a key strand in the book. Why does ritual theatre lend itself so well to working with groups seeking personal development, as well as to traditional clinical practice?
When I started working in the personal development field, I assumed like many dramatherapists I could just take what I had learned in training, which included some very powerful processes, and offer it to clients. But I discovered that these clients had completely different needs and expectations. They were emotionally robust, they had done other kinds of healing work, they could deal with catharsis (many were therapists) and they wanted to go deep and break out of the patterns that had kept them locked away. So this required a completely different approach and boundaries, and it took me some years to formulate this which I discuss in the book. It was interesting to discover that Steve Mitchell (Chapter 8: “Pathfinder Studio’s Quest for Self Cultivation through the ‘Rituals’ of Theatre Making”) was reaching very similar conclusions.
In the ancient forms of ritual theatre, this was a place where our ancestors could completely let go, often going into trance, surrendering themselves to the ritual process. This was when medicine and spirituality were undifferentiated. This is why ritual theatre lends itself to working with more robust clients, because we are able to work with ritual theatre closer to its essential form, whilst maintaining certain boundaries – so that people can go back into their lives and operate normally. Ritual theatre enables clients to work deeply and cathartically and to emerge safely – this is normally in longer workshops and groups rather than in the classic psychotherapy group framework.
It is a lot harder bringing ritual theatre into clinical practice for the reasons that Debra Colkett outlines (Chapter 15: “Connecting with the Divine Feminine – Ritual Theatre in a Forensic Psychiatric Setting”). It is generally not understood by either managers or clients, and so it needs serious adaptation and re-framing in order for it to work within the contexts of those institutions, which has been achieved brilliantly by dramatherapists all over the world working with many different populations. Because Sue Jennings came from an anthropological background there has always been an element of ritual theatre in dramatherapy – and so this book is bringing us back to those roots even though the culture of many clinical settings pull us away from that. Sue Jennings, Steve Mitchell, Roger Grainger, Debra Colkett, Thalia Valeta all write about their clinical work using ritual theatre.
I have always seen dramatherapy as having a much wider context – as not just limited to people who need “treatment” which is the literal definition of therapy – but as a natural part of life, as it is in tribal societies and as it was expressed by our ancestors. If you look at the old druid ceremonies they had elements of ritual theatre and they were ways for everyone in the community to deal with the psychological challenges of life which rhymed with the seasons. The personal development application of dramatherapy is important at this time as it offers real potential for the growth of dramatherapy, just at a time when there are changes going on in the NHS which are seriously threatening the arts therapies.
Are there any misconceptions about this topic and, if so, how can the book help bring clarity?
For a start, when I say to people I’ve edited a book about ritual theatre, they say “what’s that?” Even my clients say that and when I tell them that’s what they’ve been doing, immediately the penny drops. They understand what it is. When they discover that this is one of the most ancient forms of healing then they are immediately intrigued. For many people the word ritual theatre sounds rather heavy and frightening. Whilst gradually ritual is being seen in a more positive context – there’s been enormous sensationalism in the press around ritual killings, satanic rituals, etc. Unfortunately this is what sticks in people’s minds, particularly the minds of the most vulnerable people which is why it is so hard to bring ritual theatre into many clinical settings. So I hope the book will help to educate people on what ritual theatre really is and will remove some of the damaging misconceptions and how it can be used for healing and growth.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
For the general reader who finds themselves intrigued or attracted to the idea of ritual theatre, my hope is that they discover what it is and why it is so important in society today. I hope that they will be inspired and excited by what ritual theatre is and will want to find a way of bringing more ritual theatre into their lives, their communities, and their organisations. The beauty about ritual theatre is that anyone can do it – and like Saphira Linden’s pageant, The Cosmic Celebration, it can involve thousands of people. I also hope it will inspire dramatherapists to bring more rituaI theatre into their work and will encourage them to “think big”. I hope too it will have an impact on the theatrical profession as I believe, along with James Roose Evans and others, that ritual theatre is coming back. It’s coming back into theatre, since there’s more and more theatre companies developing ritual theatre performances. And I hope too it will spread to communities, schools and to the public at large.
The book is also important in that it pays tribute to the work of Paul Rebillot (Chapter 7: “Paul Rebillot’s Modern Day Rites of Passage” by Steve Mitchell), who died last year and has made a huge impact on the practice of ritual theatre in dramatherapy. Steve Mitchell who worked with Rebillot extensively is most qualified to describe his work and how he has adapted it through his Pathfinder Projects and his clinical practice. There are two key chapters by Sue Jennings, a chapter on the ritual theatre aspects of psychodrama, and an unusual chapter by Gary Raucher investigating the metapsychology of ritual. Some chapters are more academic, some chapters describe in a lot of detail how ritual theatre works, but many of the chapters are very moving – and so I hope that the reader, if nothing else takes away how very moving it is both to work with and experience ritual theatre. So I hope it is a book that both the general reader and the specialist can enjoy and find valuable.
Copyright © Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011.