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Reflections on DvT and the 2011 Conference Author: DTSW Members


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Pippa Mercer:

I found the day hugely inspiring overall.  A little daunted by David's bold character and wondering whether I could practise DvT myself if I wasn't so 'large as life' as it were...would have liked to have experienced the other student's individual sessions. Majorly benefitted from my first conference and actually feeling part of a professional body of people - great to liaise and get essay advice!!

Stag Theodossiou:

I'd like to thank everyone who had a hand in getting the Great Improviser here, and keeping him here. It was good fun and thought provoking.
John Hazlett Dickinson:

A major success and it is important that we were good and gracious hosts. People remember that. I think the opportunity to follow up to it would be good  (a workshop about the workshop run by members)  because there was a lot to digest and I think that he was usefully provocative in many ways.  I think we need to have a high profile event/conference once a year  and then peer workshops at other times...maybe....!

Emma Redfern: (Counsellor, Supervisor and Tutor in the Southwest.)

What a phenomenal day!  I was powerfully affected in many ways by the recent Dramatherapy Southwest day in which David Read Johnson introduced and demonstrated his drama-therapeutic Developmental Transformations.  However, I will restrict myself here to some of my responses to and associations with the one-to-one work between David and the courageous volunteer clients.
There may only have been two physical bodies in the play space at any one time, but the actual cast of characters was legion and infinite.  And having witnessed Eros and Thanatos in intimate ‘battle’, it’s no wonder that I’m reminded of one of the principals of Group Analytic therapy: for intimacy in a group to be possible, conflict must also be possible, permitted, enabled and held.
I’m also carrying around with me this notion of David as therapeutic Terminator.  In Terminator 3 that mutating, molten-metal indestructible ‘bad guy’ just keeps on coming!  As recognised by the Claire Danes character who turns to the camera/baddy at one point declaring “Just die, you bitch!”  As DvT practitioner, David advocates and offers the therapeutic equivalent of  relentless pursuit, as shown in the demonstrations and vocalised afterwards when he said that he just “keeps on coming”.  He keeps on coming relentlessly embodying, enacting and facilitating that intimacy which co-exists with destruction as client and therapist ‘join forces’ in the play space.   
As a member of the ‘audience’ I found the day invigorating, enabling me to be more connected to myself and open to others while also being shaken and stirred and empowered to continue to work further with my own wounds and needs. A massive THANK YOU to everyone involved.  And, please, let’s all join Arnie in saying “I’ll be back”.

Martin Redfern:

Even though I have spent some time training in Developmental Transformations I found the day full of rich experiences. I was surprised to see new layers of meaning in the fundamentals that I thought I already understood. DvT is a pure and highly refined approach to dramatherapy which I’m drawn to in spite of its un-Englishness and scary elements. The practice groups have enabled me to safely (though with plenty of anxiety) step out to explore a way of working where trusting the process is everything. I am very grateful to Dramatherapy Southwest for hosting this event so successfully. I hope that those who are drawn to DvT will enjoy taking their interest further as we set up a local practice group.

Adele Evans:

I am really pleased with the event. I think it was quite a coup. Even some of the Exeter psychologists were talking about it. Next time perhaps they'll come. I'd love a follow up workshop to pull out aspects of the work with the local DVT group. It would be good to have that sooner rather than later, while the day's workshop is still in our minds. Perhaps September? As ever I'm happy for it to be here. Well done John for thinking BIGG!! I know that the day has given me a professional boost and some much needed inspiration.

Kayte Summers:

A few thoughts! I loved David's lecture about the fundamentals of DvT. I was deeply moved by his obvious passion and caring around  the need for this work to be accessible. Further, he defined the issues of safety and integrity of DvT very succinctly. His discussion on the connections between drama and therapy were both clear and moving. In my individual personal work with him, I felt extremely safe throughout. His generosity of connecting with me in the work was palpable and facilitated my going deeper. He walks his talk! More please!!!!!
Sarah Burns: 

Some thoughts -  I found the conference inspirational and left feeling energised and excited about new possibilities.  There is a question in my mind about therapy being a safe space and where to draw the line.  What is right for one client, may not be for another.  This is paradoxical because whilst therapy should be safe, it should also be challenging. I would love to see him in action with other client groups and how he adapts to what is presented, clients cognitive abilities and tolerance levels. Hope this helps.  Food and venue great.

 Amanda Bailey

I really enjoyed the day. I found the ideas David presented had deep truths in them, although the practise holds some challenges too. I felt inspired and more confident to be really spontaneous and 'in the moment' with clients. I'd definitely be interested in doing more DvT work.

Eleanor Scott Wilson:

I found the workshop, both theory and practice, deeply engaging, exciting and challenging. DRJ is clearly a master of his art and it was a thought-provoking joy to watch him skillfully navigate his way into each narrative offered, picking up on subtle nuances of meaning, offering challenges and allowing gentle moments of reflection and pause. This is a methodology that sits well with my clients (children) and I will be looking to learn more about this approach.

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