Therapy spaces. Inside, Outside, Online.
It is ten years since I first began my Masters training in Dance Movement Psychotherapy in inner city Bristol, at Dance Voice – a Dance and Movement psychotherapy and education centre based at the Friends Quaker Meeting house in Bedminster. The windows were protected by cages. There was a very specific alarm system and round the back was a wilderness area, consisting of a small lawned area, a tiny woodland and a stream.
I completed my Masters after three and half years part time dedication. My Masters research took me exploring hidden valleys in Bristol city, full of wild garlic and steep-banked woodlands, where town planning resisted building work. Rivers and streams, ancient wells and native trees.
While completing my research paper, I moved away and finally qualified in April 2013. That year I moved from England to Scotland, spending some time in Slovakia at a specialist school for children and young people with Autism on the Leonardo Da Vinci programme. During my time in Slovakia, I was able to use Skype to meet with my dance movement psychotherapist supervisor. Since then I have found video calling a life line resource to link up with supervisors, peers and therapists for support and connection.
In Scotland, I worked at a residential therapeutic off-grid outdoor centre on the Isle of Mull, living in community in bothy-style accommodation. I used creativity and nature to facilitate groups in thoughtful and playful processes. From the Isle of Mull I moved to the mainland and worked for a children’s charity offering psychotherapeutic support for children and families affected by abuse, trauma and bereavement.
Working out of different kinds of venues has become a many stringed bow of mine. From community centres, to drama rooms and the sick bay. Sheltered housing lounges and gardens to audiology and GPs’ consulting rooms. Hill tops and art rooms, bothies and hostels, to typing online with young people.
Meeting with me for psychotherapy can be at a place that works for you. I have an indoor space, a quiet and light room, where there is comfortable seating, space to move and art materials to work with. We can meet for a walk. We can meander and play in the spaces that invite you into the woods or around boulders by the sea. We can meet over the web, using video call. In all these venues, we can talk, we can explore, you can create, make movement or be still.
It may be that you allow yourself to dip into more than one of these options. To meet indoors and outdoors. To meet online and outdoors.
The importance is about the containment, which involves the structured meeting time, the modality and the environment this takes place in. The psychotherapist who manifests and holds this created space, can support a therapeutic process for their client.
Don't forget your wellies!