Emilie Owen Raposo, Lefika 2021 drama therapy intern, launched our first case conference with a presentation about a grieving teenager in one-on-one drama therapy at Lefika’s low cost/ no cost clinic.
Emilie noted a few things that are worth sharing – her client was very surprised by her humanistic person-centred approach and responded well to this. As Emilie asked their opinion on things, they became more open and willing to participate. She built a relationship first and allowed the client to craft their own therapeutic journey, responding to what was most pressing for this client in the moment. Emilie noted that the purpose of drama therapy (and in fact all arts therapies) is to create a non-judgemental creative existence. This did not seem to be the client’s previous experience of therapy.
Emilie shared how she weaved in symbolism, ritual, distancing techniques and embodiment practices with her client on their grief journey – with Emilie noting that grief is normal, necessary, dynamic and non-linear. She explained how he mind body connection is necessary in order to process grief and some activities to experience this included body mapping, shrine creation, writing of their choice (including a eulogy), past and future hands, amongst others. The shrine, in particular is interesting way to work symbolically and with ritual and Emilie explained “it can hold a lot”.
In conclusion Emilie shared that this is a new way of looking at grief work – it’s not about saying goodbye – rather it’s about how can I go forward with the person who died by my side.
Case conference will now take place on the last Wednesday of each month from 09h30 to 10h30 and is open to Community Art Counsellor alumni, Lefika facilitators and staff, as well as therapists and counsellors interested in our work.