My chapter describes "The Chair of the Slightly Healthier Self", a form I created for individuals in partial hospitalization programs.
One of the most compelling aspects of drama therapy is its flexibility. I encourage practioners to be creative in creating forms for groups, individuals, and locations. There are a few guidelines that I suggest to help facilitate this process of creation:
1. Simple is better
There is no need to overcomplicate it. What is your intention? Choose one thing and create a ritual or embodiment around it. The details are better born out of necessity rather than trying to plot out everything.
2. Never forget the fundamentals
Engage in constant reflection and reframing of the reactions in the group. Recognize that people are coming with their own needs and preconceptions and engage with them on that level. Ask questions, empathize, and be mindful of the group process.
3. Your clients are the experts
If something doesn't quite work right, or doesn't quite feel right, look to the participants for input. This means asking question about big stuff or small stuff. A feeling that something doesn't quite feel right can be a gift to perfecting the form.
4. Always adapt and adjust to the reality of what is going on
The most exciting adaptions can end up being important ritualistic parts of the form. Be ready to abandon all pre-conceived ideas if there is something more pressing is happening in the room. A group that worked beautifully with one group may not work well with many others. Be ready to overhaul your idea.
5 . Talk about it.
Find peers who understand your intentions who can give you feedback on your form. This person can be a supervisor, or a colleague that you trust. It is okay to be slightly uncomfortable, but if you ever feel like you in over your depth, get support.
The process of coming up with something of your own design can be an exciting but also confusing one. Be mindful, thoughtful, and willing to change. Do not discount the fact that one's passion for particular forms may wane over time. Only utilize techniques that feel exciting to you as a faciliator. Feel free to send me a note if you have any questions or need further information.