Reviews & Articles

Heart and Soul of Pyschotherapy

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Dear Saphira Barbara Linden, Editor, The Heart and Soul of Psychotherapy: A Transpersonal Approach Through Theater Arts

We would like to congratulate you for qualifying for the Gold Seal of Literary Excellence.

edited by Saphira Barbara Linden
Trafford Publishing

“This book offers an innovative approach to healing and transformation through application of the 12 transpersonal drama therapy principles. It demonstrates a host of therapeutic techniques integrating the arts with meditation as clients heal traumatic memories and shift their identities from a conditioned, limited sense of self to the essential Self, or soul Self.”

This psychotherapy training book is written by 39 authors who work in the field of drama therapy, psychodrama, and transformational theater. The book is divided into five parts: 1) Foundations of Transpersonal Drama Therapy,
2) Private Practice with Individuals, Couples and Groups, 3) Community Healing, 4) International Venues, and 5) Transformational Theater Process and Performances. The 12 Principles of Omega Transpersonal Drama Therapy—assuming health rather than pathology, focusing on the essential Self, embodying therapeutic issues, making the unconscious conscious, working with archetypes, embracing love and holding all emotions as sacred, creating sacred
space, experiencing interconnectedness and unity, seeking mastery, achieving balance, exploring life purpose, and creating one’s life as a work of art—are utilized to help transform trauma into healing. The work is inspired by Jungian dreamwork and alchemy, Sufism, transpersonal psychology, psychodrama, and drama therapy. Sometimes philosophical, sometimes spiritual, sometimes experiential, sometimes all three, the book offers significant wisdom in the healing arts.

The works in this book are engaging, professionally written, insightful, and more importantly, soulful, for it is the soul of therapy that this book embodies. The practitioners are ones who show their dedication and commitment to the transformational paths of their clients, and the clients’ own stories add very powerful messages to these writings. An enjoyable read, the book focuses on a variety of techniques to use with many different persons/groups who are on their healing paths. While the use of logo (talk) therapy is valuable in a therapeutic process, this book relates the value of using the right brain—creative brain—for healing and giving people ways to heal beyond using the left brain—literal/language—for transformation. While it is written for those in the healing arts, it is a book that can provide healing and help empower the work of all of those in the helping professions as well as those on their own paths of finding their authentic selves.

Reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW

RECOMMENDED by the USR

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Book Review from Dr. Holly Perkins, Psychiatrist

For those working as clinicians in a world where increasing demands seem to dehumanize clients, patients and healers themselves, Saphira Linden’s work is like rain falling upon a parched garden. Saphira’s eloquent and personal integration of her life’s journey results in a reflection of her experience as a talented transpersonal psychotherapist, spiritual seeker, and a dramatically creative pioneer in the healing arts. This inspirational book clearly outlines twelve principles of Omega Transpersonal Drama Therapy. These tenets underscore the values of maintaining a focus on health and growth, the utilization of symbols, dreams and imagination, and the importance of re-identifying the self from a limited one to that of the essential Self. The sacredness of the healing environment and relationship with the therapist is recognized. Ultimately, one’s life is embraced as a work of art.

The volume presents a compendium of perspectives and chapters are written by a variety of talented individuals working in the healing arts. Each author shares his or her unique point of view, often with generous descriptions of theoretical underpinnings. They present wonderful clinical vignettes, and creative approaches to healing work with individuals, couples and groups. The recurring leitmotif of the volume is a return to the twelve tenets of Omega Transpersonal Drama Therapy, interpreted by the writers who work in a wide variety of settings. What shines through is a clear regard for the healing potential of respectful interpersonal relationship and the power of the creative process of the soul.

Whether one is working with groups, in systems, or in individual psychotherapy, this volume is valuable. As one reads through the chapters, one’s own creative process is ignited and supported. This work is a reminder that, as healers, we are honored to bear witness to the ennobling of the human being by the sacred qualities of the heart and soul.

Holly Perkins, M.D. General, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Grand Rapids, Michigan

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REVIEW BY INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOTHERAPY

Linden, S.B. (2013). The Heart and Soul of Psychotherapy: A Transpersonal
Approach through Theater Arts. Trafford Publishing.

Reviewed by: Maria Nomani, Stony Brook University.

The Heart and Soul of Psychotherapy: A Transpersonal Approach through Theater Arts, edited by Saphira Barbara Linden, introduces the intriguing application of transpersonal drama therapies to confront physical and mental illness. Her approach centers on the identification of one’s soul and achievement of human consciousness, out of which wholeness is reached and health is regained. With a unique combination of influences from Sufism and Jungian individuation, the Omega Process of Transpersonal Drama Psychotherapy includes twelve essential steps that allow for healing by accepting the essential Self, identifying conscious thoughts and feelings, experiencing unity between oneself and the world, and ultimately concentrating this self-reflection into lasting interconnectedness through creative work and symbolic communication.

The Heart and Soul of Psychology: A Transpersonal Approach through Theater Arts goes on to demonstrate the practical use of Transpersonal Drama Psychotherapy by Linden’s students in an immense range of populations and settings. Linden’s fundamental goal through these exemplifications is to solidify drama therapy as an effective and meaningful form of psychotherapy, through which spiritual healing and education can indeed reach both individuals and communities in all walks of life. Additionally, psychotherapists can develop an understanding of these techniques, their implementations, and future uses.

Linden begins by chronicling her own journey into reaching her divinity and how this precipitated an expansion of experimental theater and creative arts therapy. A significant portion of the book focuses on the transpersonal aspect of drama therapy, providing details of the traditions which affected this view the most. The influences of Sufism, namely the use of breathing and the principle that reconnection with the essential Self will lead to the realization of strength and wisdom, thus evoking healing, are given special attention, as is the influence of Carl Gustav Jung’s active imagination and access of the imaginal world. This proves crucial to the reader’s understanding of Transpersonal Drama Psychotherapy and describes the transformation that occurs within the patient as a result of it. Linden emphasizes the spiritual and transpersonal nature of this drama psychotherapy and firmly establishes its potential for universal success. She does so by referring to previous cases of drama therapy utilized in the early 1900s, its establishment as a field in the 1970s, and its dramatic growth and development since that time.

The precepts of Transpersonal Drama Psychotherapy are causal to its rapid spread across a broad range of patients and environments. Because of the willingness of Linden’s students to explore new dimensions of drama therapy, many forms of role-playing have been employed, as well as other symbolic approaches, including using music and rhythm. As this diversity of media is expanded upon through further use of Transpersonal Drama Psychotherapy and in collaboration with dance and poetry therapies, the array of potential patients for this treatment will inevitably expand as well. More importantly, however, is that Linden’s students have already established its effectiveness in both private and community practices. The flexibility of Transpersonal Drama Psychotherapy is detailed through demonstrations of its use with specific cases in private settings, as well as in couple sessions, with families and children, in therapy groups, and even in larger communities such as church, hospital, refugee camp, and inner city youth communities. The healers involved in drama psychotherapy can also be dynamic in their methods of treatment, as with two of Linden’s students who became hospital clowns to treat sick children and their families. Not surprisingly, drama therapy has been shown to improve the health and artistry of actors as well, and has grown into a useful tool for those in the field of the performing arts. This adaptability allows psychotherapists to take Transpersonal Drama Psychotherapy in a variety of directions, as suited to their own concentrations or to the needs of individual patients.

The drama therapy discipline, and particularly the methodology utilized in Linden’s Transpersonal Drama Psychology, is shown to be an interesting new domain in which psychotherapists can attempt novel therapeutic approaches when aiding traumatized patients. The Heart and Soul of Psychotherapy: A Transpersonal Approach through Theater Arts is a collection of works which provides a comprehensive overview of this topic that sufficiently introduces it and the spiritual traditions that guide it. In addition, the numerous case studies and applications of drama psychotherapy invoke inspiration into innovative strategies through which therapists can engage and aid their patients. These applications also serve to authenticate the success of drama therapy by demonstrating its effectiveness on hundreds of people of different age, gender, socioeconomic status, and health condition. Thus, this book is a reliable guide to the distinctions of Transformational Drama Psychotherapy for its readers and decisively recognizes drama therapy as a valuable form of psychotherapy.