By Kasey Varga July 1, 2013
EXA Program Chair Shoshana Simons recently published a chapter in Heart and Soul of Psychotherapy: A Transpersonal Approach to Theater Arts. This new publication is a collection of perspectives on the transformative potential of theatre arts by Saphira Barbara Linden (Co-Founder and Director of the Omega Theater).
The chapters in this book span the entire reach of the field of drama therapy-from private practice work with individuals and families to work in communities, hospitals, prisons, refugee camps, inner cities, and the remnants of disasters: and finally to her transpersonal theatre work. My guess is that the most frequently used words throughout these chapters are love, wholeness, and sacred...(from introduction by drama therapy co-founder David Read Johnson)
In her chapter Temenos in the Tenderloin: Transpersonal Drama and Expressive Arts Therapy in an Inner-City Church Based Community Simons describes the work EXA students and alumni are doing with the children served by Glide Memorial Church's Family, Youth, and Childcare Center. She makes the point that "historically individualizing practices of psychotherapy have been described as a form of ‘colonization via the gentle art of conversation' (Waldegrave, C, 1990)." And therefore "Glide's community leaders were clear from the very beginning that if the partnership was to be successful EXA students and faculty would need to explicitly be grounded in an understanding of Glide's mission, norms and values and to maintain a stance of cultural humility."
Shoshana's chapter is an inspiring portrayal of a partnership between two institutions, each serving a vastly different population of people (from mostly people of Color in dire economic circumstances on one end to mostly White middle and upper middle income families on the other). In the midst of such difference, Glide and CIIS have discovered shared values that unite them: spirituality, service, inclusion, diversity, as well as "an orientation of celebration and ritual with the arts playing a pivotal role."