Jessica Williams Ciemnyjewski

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'If we hope to live not just from moment to moment, but in true consciouness of our existence, then our greatest need and most difficult achievement is to find meaning in our lives'. (Bruno Bettelheim)

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Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy where drama is central to the process and in the exploration of themes and dynamics within the therapy and therapeutic relaionship. These may be brought directly by the individual or group members as issues wanting to be worked on, frequently however underlying deeper issues arise as the symbolic work through drama unfolds, revealing unconscious 'shadow' material that requires attention. Drama like all the arts, connects us to the inner life of who we are which is why in dramatherapy, much attention is paid to the dramatic 'reality' which unfolds in the sessions and the relationship of this to the here and now reality of the client's life beyond the consulting room.

My work as a dramatherapist spans a time period of over twenty-five years. I have specialised in working with clients who have a forensic history and/or suffer from a mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and self-harming behaviour. Many have come from severely impoverished backgrounds where there have been extreme degrees of physical, emotional and material deprivation and abuse. Their capacity for empathic and meaningful relationships  is frequently very damaged.

Dramatherapy with its emphasis on symbolic and metaphorical exploration, offers such clients the containment of the art form which provides a necessary distance when first working with their own material, whilst at the same time affording access to the inner world with its dynamics and engagement with these. The picture on this page illustrates how a client can work with inter-personal relationships, exploring them by using dolls to create scenes which are then explored for their content and dramatic narrative. There is both shadow and light in this picture as there is in all our lives. As a therapist I have sometimes been required to accompany my clients through dark and sometimes bleak emotional and psychological terrain. In carefully selecting methods through which to do this, my aim is to enable them to bear the 'wasteland' time in the process of becomming conscious of who they are. Making sense of destructive behaviour towards the self and others is a vital part of this in unlocking the grip it has on the inner world and its manifestation in the outer world, and towards creating and embodying a life that is creative and meaningful.

 

Dramatherapists use myths, fairy tales, puppets, masks, movement, image making, and other creative methods in the therapeutic process. I was trained in the U.K. and have a Post-Graduate Diploma in Dramatherapy and in Forensic Psychotherapy. I am an international member of The British Association of Dramatherapists and on their list of approved supervisors. I work as a freelance practitioner in Spain, Germany and the U.K. and speak German and English.