TSM psychodrama is used in many varied contexts and situations. This article is about a TSM-psychodrama theory certified practitioner and her applications in communities.

Photo: taken during a TSM psychodrama training in Madrid.

 

Differences are conversations waiting to happen. Talk to the “other side,” because it’s harder to hate up-close, as Michelle Obama says. Here’s two challenges I’d love to see newscasters, YouTubers, Facebookers, teachers and leaders take, and then post on social media for the rest of us to imitate:

– Every day, listen to a complete stranger for five whole minutes. In the check-out line, at the bus stop, at a game, wherever. Keep an open mind; repeat what they said as if you believed it — even if just for those five minutes. That’s called “mirroring” or “doubling” someone.

– Sort for similarities, not differences. In any conversation, challenge yourself to silently list at least 5 beliefs or attributes you have in common. If you train your brain to sort for commonalities, you’ll notice more of them.

I had the pleasure to interview Andrea C Hummel. Andrea is trained in multicultural diversity, mediation and trauma recovery. She holds a Masters in applied anthropology with additional studies in intercultural conflict mediation. She’s also trained in multi-track diplomacy and Shadow Work® and holds a theory certification in TSM psychodrama for post-traumatic growth. Her study of ten languages helps her connect with audiences when presenting at conferences both in the US and abroad. No stranger to staying focused during crisis, Andrea was in the Middle East during the 1990 Kuwaiti oil crisis, Guatemala during the 1995 refugee persecutions, and Greece during the 2015 refugee crisis. In 1991 Andrea founded a consulting firm specializing in cultural diversity. She was also an adjunct faculty member at University of Florida and Manatee Community College. Initially her focus was on preventing conflict (via cultural understanding); now it’s on resolving conflict (via facilitated improvisations). She’s the developer of the cutting-edge peacedramas for helping individuals and communities increase empathy, decrease miscommunication and create alternate endings to historical conflict. She’s worked with the Micosukee Tribe of Indians, Recover!Charlottesville, US Navy STRICOM, AmeriCorps, Equifax, and state and local government agencies. Co-author of an Amazon #1 bestseller on women overcoming hardship, Andrea is currently writing a self-help book on post-traumatic growth with trauma expert Kate Hudgins.

Thank you so much for joining us Andrea! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Growing up bicultural, I wondered why I felt “different” and didn’t fit in anywhere. Studying anthropology helped me understand there are many shades and colors of values, behaviors and ways of viewing the world — even though underneath it we’re all humans. I spent years teaching cultural diversity workshops, and then learned about experiential work. I started leading group simulations so people could experience what it felt like to be an “outsider.” Then in the late 1990s a friend persuaded me to attend a Shadow Work® weekend out in Colorado, where we healed personal shadows through acting them out. It was eye-opening: the whole idea that we have parts of ourselves that we hide away and then proceed to get tripped up by. That’s why I pursued training in psychodrama, which is acting out your stories for personal growth.

Another influence was hearing family stories about growing up in Europe during World War II. My parents experienced living in daily fear and with little food in a country whose people were turning against each other. My grandfather in particular stood up for his beliefs against the prevailing government in a socio-political climate similar to what we see in the US and the world today: scapegoating, bigotry and rejection of anyone “different.” He paid for his activism with his life, as did countless others…So I feel a need to continue what he started all those years ago.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you, since you began leading your company?

This is a great example of the fear and divisiveness in our country at the moment. Like most of us, I was watching the 2016 election closely, on the edge of my seat about who’d be our next president and what that would mean for the social fabric of our country. When the results came in the next morning, and so many people felt devastated, the mood in Washington DC (where I live) was somber. Everywhere I went that day, people looked in shock. I had a jumble of disjointed feelings inside too; I just had to do something. So I got several bouquets of flowers. I stood on a street corner with a sign reading “I’m committing a random act of kindness,” and handed out a flower to every person walking by. It was amazing — and interesting — to see the looks on people’s faces at getting a rose: mostly relief, smiles, and a few people even crying. That simple gesture of me, a complete stranger, connecting with them was what broke through their shock and sadness. Several passers-by stopped to share stories (“I interviewed Hillary just last night, so this is hitting me hard,” or “I voted for Trump, but I’m taking this flower home to my mom who’s a Democrat.”) It showed me how hungry Americans are for connecting, talking, reaching out, being understood — they just don’t know how. And now, in the current social climate, they’re afraid to. It makes me even more passionate about doing the work I do.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was starting out years ago, I didn’t know how to do an effective sales pitch. I remember talking to the police chief of a small Southern college, who was looking for sensitivity training for his officers. I laid out all the benefits, named other organizations I’d trained, and rattled off demographics and statistics. The chief nodded and asked a lot of questions, so I thought I’d sealed the deal. We shook hands, I got up to go and walked toward the door. Then I suddenly realized I hadn’t told him my fee. With my hand on the doorknob, I turned around and named a figure, then left quickly. Oh boy! Big mistake! He had no chance to ask questions or negotiate…Needless to say, I didn’t get the contract.

What I learned from that is: Know your own worth and own it. Be confident that what you have to offer the world is worth what you’re asking. That applies to both work as well as personal gifts of our time, caring, listening, etc. that we offer to those around us daily.

Can you describe how your organization is making a significant social impact?

Every conversation, every workshop, makes a difference in healing social wounds. We can’t solve society’s problems in one day. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it would be rather monochrome if it were… But what we can do is create pockets of change throughout our towns. The people in those pockets will influence others, be more open with strangers, even organize events to get to know “the others.” They can have the optimism to elect leaders who are likewise positive and working to bridge differences. One of my favorite quotes is by fellow anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

I’ve also seen how even one of our projects two years ago in Charlottesville impacted not only the community who participated there; it also led to a second project with a group of therapists, who in turn helped their many clients, whose families and workplaces were hopefully also impacted by the empowering healing techniques we taught them. And it then led to further projects with nearby municipalities and their employees. So the social impact is a ripple effect of helping individuals in communities heal after violence and miscommunication, who pay it forward by trusting others more.

Wow! Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?

When we started our work in Charlottesville, most people the team talked to were traumatized by the events of the 2017 white supremacist march. They were tense, emotional, fearful of leaving their homes, and hesitant to return downtown (where the violence occurred). One man in particular (with whom I later became friends) had a hard time finding meaning in his work, ended a significant relationship immediately afterwards, and stopped talking to strangers. After participating in our six months of community workshops, he said he’d had the catharsis he needed, felt more connected into the community, and was motivated to start additional community events to keep the conversations going. It opened his mind to seeing others through their eyes (instead of his own), and being more open to them even if he didn’t accept certain of their viewpoints. Those are the success stories I like to hear!

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Social change begins at the community level — but leaders create the structure and role-modeling to motivate the rest of us. Several things leaders can do are:

  1. Model “reaching across the aisle” and listening to those different from themselves. Model placing the well-being of the community/country ahead of that of the individual (such as getting re-elected to office).
  2. Demonstrate acceptance of strangers; don’t be a xenophobe. Reflect this in policies they sponsor. Look for solutions that aren’t black-and-white, such as expelling all foreigners and building a wall. Instead, support capacity-building in other countries, reducing the need for citizens to immigrate to the US.
  3. Organize local “meet-and-greets” with various ethnic, religious and political groups within communities. Remember that differences are just conversations waiting to happen. Sponsor quarterly community reconciliation forums to work through the hurt, fear and anger. In other words: create opportunities for acting out the change we want to see in the world, to paraphrase Gandhi.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean?

It’s not about self-aggrandizement but the glory of the TEAM. A good leader inspires his/her team, listens to their personal concerns (really connects with them), and sees them as people and not just producers/automatons. True leaders are passionate about the organization’s mission and motivate others to follow. They are part cheerleader, counselor, coach and goal-setter. They are willing to be a voice for people who can’t or won’t speak up for themselves. (That last criteria is courtesy of my daughter, who’s thankfully good at speaking up.)

What are your “five things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why?

  1. You’ve got to plant a lot of seeds before you see results. Be patient; it takes time to start a social movement. Several people I met decades ago are now coming back asking for workshops. Part of it is the greater need for social repair these days; the rest is people being more connected through social media.
  2. It’s hard work. You’ve got to keep up your belief in what you’re doing. If you get burned out, take a break from the sad traumatic parts: pitch a tent in your living room or foster puppies. — Yes, I’ve done both.
  3. You need a team. Big things can’t be accomplished alone. Despite what my mother said, the best helping hand is at the end of your arm…AND many other willing people’s arms! I wish I had the space here to name all the caring, interesting and even irritating people who’ve helped me along the way…especially when I was flying blind.
  4. You’ll spend a lot of time educating decision-makers — to explain the need for your services. I’ve noticed that a live demonstration of peacedramas at conferences really helps leaders make the decision. And videos show a lot that can’t be explained with statistics or words.
  5. There are multiple ways to get the job done. If you can’t “save the world,” then become a secretary (or other support) for someone who can. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a translator for the UN. Then I admired people like Jimmy Carter, Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama — anyone who made a difference without thinking of themselves. And now I believe I can impact society just by listening to people different from me, and inspiring others to do the same.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Differences are conversations waiting to happen. Talk to the “other side,” because it’s harder to hate up-close, as Michelle Obama says. Here’s two challenges I’d love to see newscasters, YouTubers, Facebookers, teachers and leaders take, and then post on social media for the rest of us to imitate:

Every day, listen to a complete stranger for five whole minutes. In the check-out line, at the bus stop, at a game, wherever. Keep an open mind; repeat what they said as if you believed it — even if just for those five minutes. That’s called “mirroring” or “doubling” someone.

Sort for similarities, not differences. In any conversation, challenge yourself to silently list at least 5 beliefs or attributes you have in common. If you train your brain to sort for commonalities, you’ll notice more of them.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how it was relevant to you in your life?

Fred Rogers said: “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

In other words, you see what you look for. That goes hand-in-hand with my mantra that a positive attitude produces positive change. I read Mr Rogers’ quote only a few years ago, at a time when I was overwhelmed by the negativity, violence and organized hatred in the world. I was close to throwing in the proverbial towel and finding a less stressful career. But since then, I’ve chosen to focus on the helpers in the world, those who cut through the chaos to simply be present, listen and do their best for that one person next to them. That’s all we can ever do. I really believe that’s what makes the difference in today’s world.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.

I actually have three favorite people:

Andrea Mitchell “reached across the aisle” in her own home: she’s a Democratic journalist married to a Republican former chairman of the Federal Reserve. If she can do it (while in the public spotlight, no less), so can the rest of us. Her reporting has always been intelligent and insightful…And she shares my first name.

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter have continued their activism, consulting and community support even after they left the White House. Mr Carter was the first president I followed as a young teen, and he gave me hope that presidents can inspire positive change. Both he and Mrs Carter have made perhaps more of an impact on the national and world stage in the past decades than in their four years in Washington.

Michelle Obama personified the quote “When they go low, we go high.” She didn’t contribute to the rising negativity and divisiveness in our society. Also, she was gracious in her role as ground-breaking African-American First Lady and is inspirational as a highly-educated and accomplished woman who was able to balance career and family.

How can our readers follow you on social media?
www.improvforpeace.com
https://www.facebook.com/improvforpeace/
https://twitter.com/andreachc3
https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreahummel/
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Article originally posted on Medium.com

There can be positive change after adversity.

By Adena Bank Lees, LCSW

For those who have experienced trauma, it is common to feel like life will never be the same again. As evidenced by a growing body of research, though, humans have the ability to not only “bounce back” from trauma, but to yield a positive life on the other side of a traumatic experience. Those who study and practice in the field of mental health refer to this as posttraumatic growth (PTG), defined as positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.

About Posttraumatic Growth

The general concept that trauma can lead to positive change is a common theme that has appeared in religious and philosophical teachings for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the term posttraumatic growth was coined by psychologists Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun.

Tedeschi and Calhoun posit that PTG tends to occur in five general areas:

  1. Appreciation of life
  2. Relationship with others
  3. New possibilities in life
  4. Personal strength
  5. Spiritual change

These five factors make up the general themes of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI), a 21-item assessment tool developed by Tedeschi and Calhoun to determine an individual’s progress in reconstructing their perceptions of self, others, and the meaning of events while they are coping with the aftermath of trauma. PTG does not discount those who struggle with posttraumatic stress. It does, however, offer a new lens through which an individual can explore themselves in the shadows of trauma.

Experiential Methods Can Encourage Posttraumatic Growth
As practitioners, we must meet our clients where they are at and not minimize their suffering by jumping to practical solutions. Most often, our assistance is sought after a traumatic event has occurred, so we need to take great care in introducing PTG concepts. Therapy – especially when experiential learning methods are employed – can help people see that things like these are true for them:

  • I discovered that I’m stronger than I thought I was.
  • I know better that I can handle difficulties.
  • I changed my priorities about what is important in life.

Experiential learning allows healing to take place in “real time” – we do not talk about something, we actually engage in it.

Take Christine (35 years old), for example, who was sexually abused from ages 8-13. Christine felt alone and did not trust others when she entered therapy. In several psychodrama group therapy sessions, Christine experienced group members’ support through their standing behind her with hands on her shoulders. She allowed hugs when crying or frightened. Group members contacted her between sessions to see how she was doing. At the close of the 12-week commitment, Christine reported, “because my group members were here for me and supported me when I was crying and in pain, I am more trusting that I can count on others in difficult times.” She continued with the group and strengthened the relationship aspect along with other aspects of PTG.

According to Dr. Kate Hudgins, co-founder of the Therapeutic Spiral Model, “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is not a terminal illness. It can be treated with experiential methods such as those from the Therapeutic Spiral Model of psychodrama, which addresses trauma in action. As clients build up the strength to face their trauma, they realize that they can emerge victorious into PTG.”

Therapist, author, and lecturer Rokelle Lerner recommends using story writing as an experiential strategy to identify, clarify and solidify posttraumatic growth: “Every time we describe our life’s events, we are both providing and discovering underlying patterns of meaning. It is the meaning we make of our experience that shapes how we feel, think, and respond.” Lerner offers the following outline for writing one’s story:

  • Once upon a time… (wounding)
  • And when he/she grew up… (present)
  • The story changed when… (vision)

At the very least, we can help clients understand that posttraumatic growth is a normal process that can be a possibility for them.

 

References

Tedeshi, R.G., & Calhoun, L.G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundation and Empirical Evidence. Philadelphia, PA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L.G. (1996). The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory: Measuring the positive legacy of trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 455-471.

Tedeschi, R.,et al, (2018). Post Traumatic Growth: Theory, Research and Applications. New York, NY: Routledge.

Article originally posted on Psychologytoday.com

 

Adena Bank Lees, LCSW, is a counselor, speaker, author, and consultant, providing fresh perspective on traumatic stress, addiction treatment and recovery. Her specialty is childhood sexual abuse, and in particular, Covert Emotional Incest. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor, Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress ®, and a Certified Practitioner of Psychodrama. She is the author of Covert Emotional Incest: The Hidden Sexual Abuse, A Story of Hope and Healing, as well as 12 Healing Steps for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse; A Practical Guide.

by Steven Durost, PhD, AL

 

Scarves on the floor and saris wrapped around participants.  96 degree heat drying sweat as it comes of the body and fans providing more noise than relief.  This day is the fourth day of a seven day stretch of TSI Psychodrama workshops presentations.  Yesterday, we completed yesterday a three day workshop in Bangalore and then directly after flew an hour to Coimbatore where we slept and woke to be starting today.

Frankly, I like the heat. I have been traveling in India for almost two weeks prior to the workshops and I have been cold.  The temperatures in New Delhi drop fast from 70 to 40 degrees when the sun goes down.  Finally a place I can feel my toes.

Karen Drucker and I stand before our second group of 18 curious and eager participants.  They have all been in psychodrama training for several years under the tutelage of Jochen Becker.  Jochen lives in Germany and has devoted one month out of every three to develop psychodramatists in India.  His years of devotion have paid off in a group of trainees who have skills and a rich understanding of psychodrama.

Karen and I work through the safety structures with spontaneity aimed at building the group sociometry.  We are eager to deepen our understanding of Indian culture and people.  We are aware that we are unaware of our blind spots. So, part as training and part to build our cultural competency, we ask the participants to break into three groups and to develop spectrogram criteria that will help us understand what is important to them.  What do they want us to know about them selves and their world?

Karen and I were struck by the criteria they created and how much it revealed about India and the what was important to the participants.  Here are the criteria we put into action and some of the things we learned about Indian culture.

 

Education Level

The first spectrogram criteria was to “put yourself along the line in relation to the amount of education you have.”  The placement of the participants showed they were a highly educated group with PhDs, accountant, leaders and counselors.  They said that there is a great pressure in India to be educated. In some cases, one person is educated in order that they can then support the family back home.  I asked if there is a lot of shame around the amount of education one has.  I was told there is a great amount of shame if one has not achieved well in school. A woman who is educated can get a better husband and command a larger dowry.  However, there is a doubled edge sword because a woman cannot be more educated than her husband.  “A woman can be educated but only just enough.”  One participant stated she defied her parents and became more educated than they thought was proper.  The depth of this criteria provided a rich understanding of a topic we would not have explored or if we had we would not have done so in the same way.

 

Personal Space

The next criteria was “at home I have little physical space for myself to I have a lot of physical space for self in my house.”  The participants were spread evenly over the line with some saying they have very little personal space at home and needed to go to work or school to have space that is their’s.  And, other participants saying they had a good amount of space.  Discussion about why this was an important criteria followed as participants express that the idea of personal space is different in India…with people on buses and trains pushed up against or purposely pushing against you.  Someone suggested the criteria might have a follow up of “who would want more space versus who is content with the space they have.” Then someone mentioned that asking for more was considered wrong when growing up, so the criteria would be hard to answer because it would work against cultural upbringing.  Others suggested that participants expand on “what do you have in that personal space at home” and “what are spaces outside home where you have space.” And there was one even more interesting criteria being “how much emotional space do you have in this moment?”

 

Feminine and Masculine

The next criteria opened up many possibilities for exploration.  “In this moment, I feel feminine and at the other end in this moment I feel masculine.”  Again the line was balanced out with the majority of the participants more or less in the middle.  All three men were in the middle stating they felt equally in touch with their masculine and feminine sides.  Three women were fully at the masculine end stating they were feeling very pro-active/action-centered/making something happen in their beings.  This criteria’s richness has another level as the god Shiva is sometimes portrayed as half man and half woman.  This portrayal is when Shiva and his wife Parvati are spliced together…showing male and female energy equally.

 

Geographic Area

One other criteria that emerged from the groups is more of a locogram in which participants would stand in positions representing North, South, East and West India.  From these places, participants could talk/show the diversity of cultures in India based on regions.  We were told that each area is different, with different festivals, food, politics, language, landscapes and uniqueness.  Much cultural abundance could be found in this locogram.

Education level, personal space, the masculine and feminine internal connection and geographic area as diverse cultural identity were the criteria that the participants felt gave Karen and I a deeper understanding of the lives they are living.  There was so much to unpack in what they offered and insight into their culture.  Without asking the participants to come up with their own criteria, we would have imposed our own criteria and never had the luxury of unpacking cultural differences that lay in our blind spots.  In the planning for the workshop, we brainstormed spectrogram ideas to attend to social issues, political differences, cultural defenses/values, conflicts and interests.  However, we did not come close to the topics they felt important.  The learning for me is about providing opportunity within the safety structures for groups to have their own time to explore and build the sociometry they feel is important to let them have time to “show” who they are and how they are connected.  I learned more about Indian culture in that 45 minutes than in the two prior weeks of travel, multiple tours and cultural events.  With thought and care, the third TSM safety structure can be used to deepen cultural competency, create human connection and expand the positive impact of a workshop.

A drum sits in the middle of scarves at the end of the last day.  Art pieces depicting the autonomous healing center have been created, shared and integrated.  The end of my time in India is approaching.  I know I will miss the heat.  And, because our hearts were open to each other, I will miss the people from this workshop too.

Dr Steve

Hello All you Lovely Psychodramatists.

Dr. Kate has asked me to write a blurb about the TSM training I have been offering in Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA over the past three years.  It started off as something organic and has evolved into four modules, each one containing 8 sessions. It is a closed group of trainees who meet for 3 hours once a month for 8 sessions.  This completes one module in the International Certification in Experiential Therapy Using the Therapeutic Spiral Model.

The first module is focused on Prescriptive (RX)  roles, teaching all the safety structures, doing small vignettes, and small group exercises that give people an opportunity to practice observing ego, containing double, body double, restorative roles.  Participants learn to use the Trauma Survivor’s Internal Role Atom (TSIRA) to build the spontaneity and creativity needed to work with trauma for themselves and their clients.

The second module is 8 sessions of learning about the three different types of defenses, ie. Survival defenses, addictions, obsessions and compulsions.  We make sure to have fun as we create different ways of exploring the group’s own defenses.  Then the last prescriptive role is introduced, the Manager of Defenses, and the group has opportunity to be creative in producing their own manager of defenses in self presentations.  This series ends with a prescriptive role drama.

The third module is 8 sessions directing and participating in full trauma dramas where transformative roles are introduced. The group meets the Sleeping Awakening Child, the Good Enough Mother, Father, Spirituality.  More seasoned group members have opportunity to direct full dramas, while newer group members become more skilled as auxiliaries, deepening their learning in prescriptive roles, taking on trauma- based roles of Victim, Perpetrator and Abandoning Authority and Roles of Transformation, as mentioned above.

The last module is 8 sessions on transformation. September 2019 will be the first 8 sessions of the last module so stay tuned!

Each series gives an opportunity to take in new group members and allow for successful departures. Currently we have 10 group members, 4 of whom are more seasoned and 6 who are new to the model.  At the end of each 8 session series I invite the Master and Creator of TSM, Dr. Kate herself, to come and co-lead a client group where trainees have opportunity to participate on the team and have in vivo supervision while practicing their skills with a client based group.

This leads me to tell you about the upcoming May, 2019 Personal Growth Workshop on Boundaries. (see TSI calendar at www.therapeuticspirslmodel.com for info and registration).  Since 2001 I have been bringing Dr. Kate to Ottawa to lead or co-lead personal growth TSM workshops.  All though the theme is always post traumatic growth, we often like to focus on a particular areaof growth.  This May the focus will be on boundaries…. Where I Begin and You End. May 24, 25 and 26th, 2019. We sure hope to see you there! Contact:  Monica Forst, 613-823-3848 or monforst@gmail.com.  Fee: $550.00 Cdn. Early bird.  $600. Regular.  Lunch included.

This workshop culminates the third module of the training series, where the training group will have just completed their 8 sessions on trauma dramas and many of them share their skills as Action Healing Team Members.

A Note from Monica Forst, TSI Trainer, Ottawa Canada 

I think most of you know that Mario is now the Co-Director of TSI with me. It feels good to have someone in that role again since Francesca retired. But I really feel her presence these days as I connect more with some of the trainers on our website with different projects. A lot is happening. Probably more than I know!

Going back to IAGP was the best thing that ever happened to TSM. I am personally working two new sites—Croatia and Spain, each with 4 workshop contracts for 2019-2020 for the Basic Core Courses. Looks like Spain will start off with a residential in a convent on the coast of southern Spain in Malaga if all goes well for June. Croatia is almost fully subscribed already for June. We will spend Christmas there this year as well!

Steven and Karen are offering the first two modules in two cities in India almost as we speak! And another two are already planned I think to complete their level 1 courses. Steven has been sharing his ahead of time sightseeing and the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty.

Mario is doing his last Bali retreat. And our co-creation at Steven’s castle of TSM and cultural influences.

Sylvia just complied a chapter on TSM in a book a friend of hers solicited her to do. I was supposed to help but couldn’t and she got it done with just a few corrections! Thanks again for Francesca’s support.

Today, Linda, Nancy Alexander and our respective media folks and the new TSI organizer María are meeting to discuss a way to promote their online ACTS program on TSM and psychodrama through TSI trainers. Mario and I will discuss later as he will be sound asleep when we are talking. Seems like a win-win and it is an amazing series. Now that ABE is sending a proposal to the membership to vote on accepting 100 or so online bird, this is a great time to be sharing this powerful resource.

Ben has built a soup kitchen in Egypt to support women working as well as graduated his 2nd TSM cohort. The soup kitchen is thriving!

Scott is building a very successful local practice as therapist and trainer in Phily as the TSI east coast site continues to grow after two years of my time and investment with a new full cohort starting with the March residential Director’s Practice workshop. He has published 5 articles!

I just published a chapter in a German psychodrama journal. Andrea and I have hired Jonathan Moreno’s agent to help us write and market a self-help book using TSM exercises for the general public.

Vlada’s book is doing well and she is having a new daughter in March so future work on its Applications will happen in time.

It has been a busy time for TSM but we are so excited to see what else the future holds. Congratulations to everyone and their successes thus far!

10 – 15 February, and 17 – 22 March, 2019

These retreats will each combine 30+ hours of personal growth, psychodrama sessions with diverse cultural adventures on the beautiful and mystical island of Bali in Indonesia. Included will be a trip to the famous Tanah Lot Temple, one of the ten most photographed sites in the world. Free time for exploration and relaxation is also included. Psychodrama hours may be used toward certification by the American Board of Examiners, the Korean Psychodrama Association, The North American Drama Therapy Association, and Therapeutic Spiral International. (Check with your local certifying board to see if they accept these hours as well.)

Costs:

  • The fee for all psychodrama sessions over six days, seven community meals (four dinners and 3 lunches), and all cultural events is US$550 per person inclusive.
  • A 50% deposit will hold your place and is due no later than 2 Jan for Feb. retreat and 4 Feb. for March retreat.
  • Balance due on first day of retreat. Those who pay in full by deposit date pay only $500 per person.
  • Transportation and accommodations are not included. Participants will receive suggestions for reasonably-priced accommodations within walking distance of the psychodrama venue.

Psychodrama Venue and Trainer:

TAKSU HEALING HAVEN – Ubud, Bali –   is a jungle paradise in the Heart of Ubud.  It features a World Class Spa & Salon, Restaurants, Yoga, and Workshop Spaces. Participants will receive a 15% discount on any additional food and beverage and on all Spa services. Visit www.taksuspa.com for a listing of services available. Visit www.taksuhealinghaven.com for a listing of the healing practitioners in residence and the services they offer.

MARIO COSSA, RDT/MT, TEP, and TSM Trainer – founder and Director of Motivational Arts Unlimited, Indonesia, will be your Psychodrama Director and guide for this experience. Mario brings decades of experience as a group facilitator and psychodrama director and has worked in the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, and China. Please visit his website: www.dramario.net

To Indicate Your Interest:

Please e-mail mario@dramario.net with a brief statement of your interest and previous psychodrama and/or drama therapy experience, and preferred contact method. Your expression of interest does not commit you in any way. Additional information and registration details will be sent.

Click below to see the newsletter that was sent to subscribers!

May 2018 Newsletter

Hello, my dear friends!
I am here to inform you about the release of my book The Way Home: Discovering the Path to your Truth, Nature and Inner Treasures.
This is a very exiting time for me and I am looking forward to share my book and the vision that’s behind it with the world. I really hope that this book reaches many different people because I believe in its healing energy, clear messages and a safe structure that can allow everyone to connect to his/her own Inner Home.

Synopsis: “The Way Home” opens with a heart-warming and creative fairy tale describing the journey of self-discovery that all humans yearn to undertake, yet are afraid to without a proper guide. In this book we learn how to “activate” our personal inner guides and personify these inner voices to serve us in our healing journey. The inner life (psyche) is described as a Home with multiple rooms to which we can return for new discoveries and self-care. It is as simple as: “you do not need to know how to get where you are going; you only need to make a choice…connect to [your] personal soul navigator who will lead [you] Home-to Your True self.”

You can find it on Amazon here.

If you are interested in reviewing the book, please let me know and I will send you a free electronic version.
Please, feel free to spread the word and share it with your community!!! Let’s make The Way Home approachable to as many people as we can!!!

Blessings!!!
Vlada Zapesotsky, MA, PAT, AL-TSI
Founder of International Foundation of Healing and Creativity “The Way Home-to your True Self”. Practitioner-trainer, author, speaker.

Recently, I had the opportunity to direct a private TSM psychodrama a deux, using OEcards, strength roles concretized with scarves, and use of “the triple double” (BD/Classical double/CD in fluid action as needed) from the director’s role. Of course my directing was informed by the TSIRA – the TSM  clinical map of internalized roles . After the drama the protagonist said,” Wow! I am amazed! I never expected to feel so differently – so light- and to realize so many things in a new way . I am astonished at the change I feel !”
I myself am always profoundly moved by the life-changing impact  a TSM drama can have – whether in a group with a full team, or a private drama with a small team, or a deux. I am always grateful to be a TSM trainer and team leader – and that my directing is informed by the Therapeutic Spiral Model.

 

Over the past years, I have researched and developed a healing concept and action model called The Way Home to Your True Self, which is a practice of returning to one’s inner beginning, one’s true nature and whole self. This concept of ‘return’ does not mean that the person is going backwards to where he or she had started life. Rather, it is a journey of discovery in which he or she is able recognize this inner space of the natural and true self, to enrich it, and to start building a unique, flexible and safe inner container that is appropriate in the here-and-now. I named this space “The Inner Home” because this metaphor describes in detail all the components of our inner space, reflecting the personality, belief system, imagination, actions, and creative sparks. This inner space might be called a person’s Soul and is built from true and tested strengths, abilities, and resources. The main component of such an Inner Home is the feeling of being our own person, or our Self, in which safety, containment, truthfulness, spontaneity, and free expression are states that we experience naturally in our own home-space.

In my work, I discovered various techniques based on Classical Psychodrama, as well as TSM, that help clients realize how far they are from their own Inner Home, what blocks their path, and how they can remove the obstacles on this road home. The tools I developed help the client understand how to get on the path, own it, and live it. Just these first steps prove to be healing, giving a sense of mindfulness, joy, and tranquility. Most significantly, while I worked with many different individuals, I have not met one who could not connect to this universal concept of Home or who could not understand the feeling of being at home with him-or herself, regardless of their cultural or religious beliefs. People who have participated at least once in a psychodrama session, and of course, those who are experienced psychodramatists, know very well how much psychodrama techniques help one feel their spontaneity and creativity, and most importantly believe that they can live a new experience here-and-now. Aware of this, I noticed the same almost “magical” effect on the client just by the mention of his or her Inner Home where the true self lives. As soon as one has the opportunity to believe that his real nature, soul, inner truth is still alive and safe, and to feel a connection with this inner space, it is as if some invisible force (I call it “Soul GPS”) switches on and leads the person on a unique and safe path, returning to his true, contained, and genuine Self.

Having this roadmap myself, my work as a therapist and director became much more focused and productive. Instead of wandering with the client in his or her vast inner world and reliving the many inner dramas (many of which are interesting but not specifically related to self-discovery), the protagonist begins to recognize the way that is true and constructive, leading to the direction of reclaiming the knowledge that it is he or she who knows the path to the Inner Home. Throughout many such sessions, I was discovering together with my clients the reasons or inner motives for distancing, fleeing from, or blocking a connection to the Inner Home. Below, I list the most frequent reasons.

  1. The person’s early environment or space, where he or she grows and develops as an individual.

If, during one’s childhood, the closest people (trusted adults) do not accept the person’s nature, do not give the child a chance to express openly and naturally, or simply ignore the existence of that child’s truth, that child begins to hide the truth from the others, and eventually from him or herself as the only way to survive in that family or society. In other words, the person is forced to reject his or her own personal Inner Home, a natural, unique structure, in the name of his parents’ home or social space. After being rebuffed for who he or she is, the person starts to reject or betray his or her own self. There are rare cases when, even at a young age, a person has enough inner strength to resist and defend his true Self, but such resistance might be coupled with a feeling of shame, guilt, fear, and self-judgment. Or, even upon winning to stay true to himself, the person usually cannot allow himself to live fully his own truth and to grow in his own true Inner Home. The hard-won battle at such a young age may leave scars of defensiveness and other detrimental protections.

  1. The internal wanderer syndrome,” a name I have given to a life perceived as a pointless adventure. Here, the search becomes more important than the discovery.

This happens when a person evolves and grows without recognizing or attributing much importance and value to his or her own life experience. Passing through various stages of life, the person is preoccupied almost exclusively with external events and happenings, thus is little or not at all familiar with his or her own inner world. Such a person may have an unrestrained desire to discover new and different experiences: how foreign people live, trying different professions, finding himself in surprising life situations, etc. In other words, attempting to find his own personal Home, this person must first travel the world to finally realize that he or she has had all the important and true parts already within.

While many and varied experiences are not inherently maladaptive, they can be used to avoid one’s true nature. Often, a serious life shakeup will force such a person to stop and make a conscious choice to seek his or her own truth and real Self. When this person decides to remain still and face herself, in spite of the fear and even panic that can release, she will now have the opportunity to find this safe, free and peaceful feeling of home, finally belonging.

  1. Traumatic experiences (especially, at an early age) that bring the feeling that someone “takes over” the Inner Home, destroys it, or forces a person to leave it as an escape.

One of the most dramatic and, unfortunately, most common reasons for people distancing or dissociating from their Inner Home is a traumatic episode at a young age (emotional, verbal or physical abuse). It does not have to be a specific incident, but may be a state in which a child feels damaged, in danger, abandoned, or lonely in his fragility and vulnerability. As soon as the feelings of danger, shame, and fear appear in a child, the need to protect the Inner Home (by surrounding it with many defenders, fortresses, walls, dragons, and other defense mechanisms that help survival) becomes essential. The next step toward salvation may be a desire to escape as far as possible from his or her own Inner Home or truth because the inner reality becomes too harsh, painful or even dangerous. Similarly, a need may arise for an extreme measure—to split the inner world into separate pieces, and thus make The Way Home more untenable. Sometimes the person may focus on the external space, avoiding the inner one in order to not hear the calling of the Inner Home or the Self”

(I describe in detail the inner reality of a trauma survivor and his/her path to his own Self in my book The Way Home: Discovering the Path to your Truth, Nature and Inner treasures, available on Amazon in print and Kindle).

It is hard to imagine a person, who finds him or herself subjected to destructive life circumstances that force a distance from the Inner Home, who does wish to escape and search for a better reality ‘out there’. Yet, however significant the reasons that separate one from his or her truth and essence are, I have found to be true that the connection with the Inner Home is never interrupted or totally lost. Thus, a return to one’s self is first a question of a conscious choice at an appropriate time. As in any other conscious process, the most important part is to take the first step in the right direction. As soon as the first step is made, one can get on the path that begins to carry him or her. And as we all know from the many fairy tales and stories told in books, movies or songs, the Way Home is always filled with faith, meaning, and light. This journey to our Inner Home is metaphysical, mythical, spiritual, and tangible.

Vlada Zapesotsky, MA, PAT. Founder of International Foundation of Healing and Creativity, “The Way Home- to Your True Self. Author of the book The Way Home: Discovering the Path to Your Truth, Nature and Inner Treasures.