Ellen Maslin

Drama and movement therapy

My experience with acne and its psychological impact

Having lived with acne for six years, and just started treatment on Roaccutane, I understand the impact acne can have on self-esteem, anxiety, depression and body image. When I was experiencing what I used to refer to as my “battle” with acne, I often struggled to leave the house, feared interacting with other people and developed an unhealthy relationship with my body and, in turn, my Self. Over the years, my acne outbreaks have fluctuated in severity and felt out of my control. What I have been able to eventually regulate however, is my relationship with my acne. I no longer refer to it as the enemy I battle against. My skin is an organ that I have learnt to accept and love.

I owe this self-acceptance to bodywork and creative inner exploration. When I encountered the therapeutic effects of movement and dramatic expression I decided to train as a Drama and Movement Therapist.

My level of training and what I am offering

I am in my final year of Drama and Movement Therapy (DMT) training at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. For the next year, I will be offering DMT sessions, under HCPC registration, as part of the training’s placement unit. I am training in the Sesame approach to DMT. You may wish to visit the Sesame website to learn more about this approach: http://www.sesameinstitute.appspot.com/unique-elements-of-sesame-approach.

What DMT (Sesame) is

Although it uses enactment and movement, the Sesame Approach to DMT is not performance orientated. Instead, it focusses on the creative process. Within this creative process one can learn about themselves through play. This type of therapy works less with solution finding in the external world, and is more interested in the inner, unconscious, world, which can be accessed through the body and the imagination. “We are not in the business of taking away a person's coping strategies but in helping them feel safe enough to embrace and explore buried feelings.” (Sesame Institute, 2011). Our aim is to offer tools to clients to face and accept difficult aspects of the Self, which are often at the root of low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and negative body image.

What a session might look like

A requirement for an online DMT session would be a safe private space, ideally one which allows for a bit of movement. I might recommend that you have materials such as paper, coloured pencils, pens and random objects, to use during a session. However, this is not a necessity because the main tool for a DMT session is one’s imagination.

I would be holding a space to meet you wherever you are at in that moment. Sessions might involve the exploration of an image which we discover during conversation, or via a warm-up exercise, or which you bring to the session. How this image is explored is developed between the client and therapist. It might begin as a drawing or be formed into a poem. It could be explored with the body, creating different shapes and movements to investigate how this symbol makes you feel. It could be identified in a Myth or Fairytale and explored by taking on a variety of roles or recreating particular environments with imaginative use of sound.

The aim of DMT is to offer tools to people, to open up new perspectives of and relationships with themselves. In this context, an aim might be to take back power from the overarching concerns of acne. We would be working together to discover these tools within yourself. If this therapeutic approach is something you think you might be interested in, an initial consultation can be booked via the Zapped website. This first meet would involve discussing the process and deciding if Drama and Movement therapy is right for you.