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International Dramatherapy Conference – May 2023

by roundabout

Roundabout attended the European Federation of Dramatherapy & World Alliance of Dramatherapy on the 5th and 6th May and were delighted to present a workshop about our dramatherapy work with dementia clients. The workshop titled Honoring the End of Life Cycle, Dramatherapy and the Imagination in Dementia Care was led by Lynn Cedar and Adam Atlasi with the support of Brenna Baker.

26 participants attended. 23 completed evaluations, of these 100% rated the workshop good-excellent.

87% of the attendees reported the workshop increase their understanding of dramatherapy with clients with dementia.

Further comments from attendees

  • You really took us into the story clearly, enthusiastically! Loved it. 
  • Amazing – containing, engaging, enlightening
  • Very clear, sympathetic, good to go to practice immediately.
  • Very good. I felt included, heard and valued. The information presented was very useful to me.
  • Loved the calm playful connection.

Adam’s reflections on the conference

I’d like to start by saying what a privilege it was to present our workshop at the inaugural International Dramatherapy Conference. In a time of wider international socio-political fracture and divide, I found the generosity, creativity and will to connect of all delegates from around the world to be healing and resourcing. I extend special thanks to Roundabout Trustee’s who supported the part-funding of my participation, without whom I simply would not have been able to attend. Not only was this my first time presenting at a dramatherapy conference, but I was also fortunate to attend other workshops that related to my clinical practice, all of which contributed to a rich learning experience that I have gone on to implement in my work. I therefore feel the conference has undoubtedly furthered my professional development. Working with Lynn Cedar over the past 2 years with Older Adults with Dementia has felt imperative, a position only solidified by the revelation during the conference that Dramatherapy with Older Adults represents , 2% of our collective clinical work WORLDWIDE. We clearly have so much more wisdom to glean from the imaginal potential between us and those with dementia. 

I attended 3 Workshops;

Honouring Ancestors and Reclaiming Culture Through Dramatic Resonances, Facilitated by Susanna Pendzik, Idalmis Garcia and Ramon Guitart – I found this particularly resonant to consider my own middle eastern heritage and how generational trauma’s may impact my day to day practice. I have gone on to find my own dramatic resonances in the films of Iranian Director Abbas Kiarostami.

No Future: From unimagined to imagined, Facilitated by Leanne Windall – helped me to consider how dramatherapy as a creative medium can be used to help clients imagine new potential futures. This was most pertinent for those Young People I support in my CAMHS Crisis work, who have experienced significant childhood trauma experience that may threaten healthy development of a sense of self. 

Leelah Play – an Imaginary Role-Playing Game, facilitated by Amani Mussa and Dov Blum-Yazdi – this non-directive, phenomenological model inspired by Dungeons and Dragon’s Role Play investigates Self-reflexivity in relation to the other. This concept allowed me to reimagine the boundaries of play within therapeutic work. 

Overall, the conference was beautifully held from beginning to end, with every detail of the delegate experience seamless throughout. This can be captured by the imagine of the treasures unknowingly held in each of our delegate badges; a seed (physically and metaphorically) to be planted across the world, helping to grow the potential for Dramatherapy. 

It was amazing to connect with international practitioners, and connect re: areas of work, research, articles written, and cultural implications on the work in terms of the cultural backgrounds of therapists, the cultural backgrounds of clients and the cultural base of the country the therapy is taking place in.  As well as connect with other UK based professionals attending conference. Offering opportunity for networking, sharing experience, signposting possibilities, possibilities for future collaboration. People approached us with our lanyards on, and commented positively about Roundabout’s work. A stand out comment being ‘I’ve heard that Roundabout is a really ethical organisation’.” from Brenna

The full conference programme details are available here