Hi! I’m Weronika; Ronnie for short. I’m a Dramatherapist.
I trained at University of Roehampton and I work part time in the NHS as well as educational settings, with both adults and children.
How did I become a Dramatherapist?
It might sound cliché, but I always wanted to help people and become a therapist. Growing up however, I struggled with some mental health difficulties myself and found it hard to focus in school. I joined a theatre company for children and realised that I was healing myself through participating in an activity that I loved to do. I went on to study drama at a London university where I learn about the vast ways that drama and the theatre influence the world. There, I realised that I wanted to use drama in an applied way to support people who may be going through difficulties in their lives.
Over the course of a few years, I began to apply my skills as a facilitator in leading workshops around confidence building and relationship building with children and adults in charity and school settings. I realised that a creative space where people learn to trust and find their own voice, is the place where they may be ready to share the experiences which have brought them to the charities in the first place. I held a lot for many people and realised I could do this as a therapist.
I went on to do a master’s degree in Dramatherapy as this felt like the course which could marry the idea of helping people with using drama. Here, I learnt that drama is much more than acting and being over-the-top. Drama, in itself, is the tool that therapists can use to explore very difficult feelings and past experiences and have a better understanding of them.
Once I qualified, I returned to many of the places I had worked before to facilitate a therapy space rather than a drama workshop. This then led me into work within the NHS where creative arts therapies are recognised for providing an alternative space for patients and service users to explore their mental health.
So, what exactly is Dramatherapy?
Dramatherapy is a psychological therapy which uses creative media within a confidential, therapeutic space to address thoughts, emotions and to explore past and present traumas. This combination offers all the benefits of working with an art form alongside the benefits of a therapeutic and supportive environment. The Dramatherapist may use stories, drama, movement, music, poetry and games in combination or isolation to meet the aims, needs and preferences of the client.
Clients may have tried a range of therapies in the past, and Dramatherapy offers a new way of looking at things by moving away from thinking and discussing problems into expressing emotions through creativity. Not relying on words can help clients who are struggling to express themselves cognitively or those who have found verbal therapies too forward. The therapeutic environment can allow clients who are struggling with communication and relationships to explore these with an empathic and supportive therapist. The benefits of working creatively are additional to the exploration of difficult problems in therapy, such as building self-esteem, retaining a sense of empowerment over oneself and promoting independence.
What would it be like to meet me?
When we first meet, the most important thing to me will be to hear your story and for us to feel comfortable in the space together. You can ask me questions about how I work, and I might ask you questions about what brought you to the service. I may use objects or art materials to ask you to show me how you feel, but if you are not comfortable working in this way, I am also happy to listen to what you need. Most importantly, I want to ensure we build a solid foundation for our work which consists of trust, autonomy in your care, warmth, understanding and a non-judgemental space in which you feel safe to share your experiences.
What type of therapies do I use and what types of problems do I work with?
Dramatherapy is a psychodynamic therapy which means it focuses on our early childhood experiences to think about our current feelings. It takes into account the person as a whole and all their lived experiences which shapes them and their emotions. I like to work using an integrative approach, meaning I would adapt my approach to suit the client’s needs and provide a space where the client decides what they want to work on. I may offer the client to use dramatic distancing techniques, which refer to the way that emotional and psychological problems can be accessed through a metaphor making them easier to tolerate and work with. This can be done through using objects, art, stories or movement.
My training has provided me with experience to work with a range of difficulties, including adverse childhood experiences, trauma, loss, anxiety, low mood, challenging behaviour, relationship and family difficulties, and more. I am a trauma informed therapist and majority of my experience is working in a trauma informed way.
What do I enjoy outside of psychology?
I am naturally a creative person and love being creative in my life outside work. I enjoy playing board games, watching movies, going to the theatre, listening to music, and dancing. I love walking in nature and spending time with my family and friends. I also co-host a podcast called DTherapy Space as a hobby because it keeps me connected with my friends whilst talking about the job I love.