I am pleased to announce my participation at the 3rd EADMT Conference Crossing Borders and The In-Between: DMT at the Leading Edge, in Athens, Greece.
I will be presenting a 90min workshop on
THERAPEUTIC CHANGE WITHIN THE SPACE BETWEEN FANTASY AND REALITY: DMP WITH FAMILIES WITH PLAY-AGE CHILDREN
As Freud first described (1908), the play is an integral part of human activity. He associated play with the function of creativity whereby the child, while playing, becomes the creator of his/her world and re-enacts indirectly the pleasures and conflicts of his/her unconscious life. This doesn’ t mean that the child doesn’ t take the world seriously; quite on the contrary, he/she takes his/her play very seriously and he/she expends large amounts of emotion on it. The opposite of play is not what is serious but what is real. Despite the cathexis within the world of play, the child distinguishes quite clearly this world from reality and likes to connect fictional objects and situations with tangible and visible objects of the real world. This linking is what distinguishes children’ s play from fantasy.
According to Winnicott (1971), play and creativity origin from transitional phenomena which take place within a ‘transitional space’, namely in the intermediate area between the thumb and the teddy bear, between the oral erotism and the true object-relationship, between primary creative activity and projection of what has already been introjected, between inner and outside world, between mother and child. It is an area of experience which is overlapped by both entities and where they both meet.
The transitional space where fantasy and reality partially overlap, constitute the main part of infant’ s experience, and remains through life in experiences which belong to arts, creative fantasy or scientific creativity. Psychotherapy takes place in the space overlaps between the two transitional spaces, the patient’ s and the therapist’ s.
In family therapy, this space where therapeutic change occurs is the overlap that is created from each family member as well as the family as a whole, and the therapist. Within this transitional space unresolved intrapsychic conflicts, or conflictual object relations from parent’ s families of origin can be enacted or expressed metaphorically and symbolically, and worked – through.
The notion of transitional space offers an excellent description of the environment created during a DMP session. It is a space where the means of the art is used creatively and expressively. It is a space of metaphoric and symbolic imagery where the internal and the external, the self and the other mingle (Johnson, 1998). Within this transitional space, family members interact with the therapist and with one another and the transference/ countertransference relationship develops. The children are provided with the opportunity to express themselves through their natural expressive way which is the play. The physical movement as one trait of playing portrays conscious and unconscious fantasies and desires. During the first years of a child’ s life, play is primarily a body expression, but while the child moves on to the oedipal phase, it starts playing on a symbolic level.
The aim of this workshop is to introduce participants in dance movement family therapy technique and to discuss how a D M Psychotherapist creates this ‘between space’ where the therapeutic change takes place.
This workshop is mainly experiential where participants will be asked to participate actively. There will be an initial brief theoretical part and a discussion at the end of the movement part where all participants are encouraged to be involved with suggestions, questions and ideas.
Freud, S. (1908), Creative Writers and Day Dreaming. Standard Edition, Vol 9. London: Hogarth Press.
Scharff,D.E., Scharff,J.S. (2004), Object Relations Family Therapy. USA: Rowman & Littlefield pub., inc.
Skynner, A. C. R. (1981), ‘An Open-Systems, Group Analytic Approach to Family Therapy’. In Gurman, A.S., Kniskern D. P. (eds.), Handbook of Family Therapy, (pp. 39-84). New York: Brunner/Mazel, Inc.
Stanton-Jones, K., (1992), An Introduction to Dance Movement Therapy in Psychiatry. London: Routledge.
Winnicott, D.W. (1971), Playing and Reality. London: Tavistock Pbl. Ltd.
More info about the conference you can find at http://eadmt.com/?action=article&id=82