Sunday, 23 December 2012


Ever felt as if you could burst with joy?  Excited that something at last will happen?  Some people might be very cynical and say 'well carry on waiting!' or 'who are you kidding?' or 'not again!'

Well life can be joyous but perhaps not all the time.  We would never notice if joy became the norm, BUT, just maybe, there could be a bit more of it.  I have friends in Malaysia who are running projects such as 'Coming Together, Being Together' in Penang, and 'Laughter for Healing' in Johore Bahru, where people come together to play.

Lets bring playfulness back into the agenda in daily life and enjoy something that is fun.  And why shouldn't therapy also be fun?  I cannot go with the 'pain is gain' approach to healing: medicine does not have to taste nasty in order for it to work!  

Having surfaced partially from my bereavement earlier this year, I know that my beloved Peter would want me to enjoy the rest of my life.  I cannot follow this received wisdom that it needs to take two years for recovery from major loss.  Of course the reminders come back, especially at this time of year when he began to be seriously ill.  However it would not be helpful for every Christmas to be a time of personal suffering.  I have to be able to both live with it and to see it anew, and to be joyous that we had such an amazing time together.

Its is not something that I will 'recover' from - rather my life with Peter continues to enrich me and sustain my way forward. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dancing on the Ceiling

Dancing on the Ceiling is the name of presentations and workshops I am currently giving in Malaysia to doctors, psychologists, teachers, care-givers, therapists of all kinds, nurses and corporate staff.  It emphasises the need for playfulness in how we work with others, especially children and adults with difficulties.

The full training in  Neuro-Dramatic-Play shows how early playful attachment between mother (or other) enables security, trust and empathy to develop, resulting in resilience and confidence.  Babyhood is the time for social interaction to become established and it cannot be replaced by computer games, TV or toy smart 'phones!  

The brain is still soft-wired when we are born and very sensitive to external stimulus, so a family world where parents and siblings are being kind to each other, actually influences the baby's growth.  This is not just 'setting a good example', but influencing the connections being made in the brain itself through 'mirror neurons'.  Thank you neuro-science!

The idea of Dancing on the Ceiling reminds us to be playful - maybe a little bit of play everyday!  And people are amazed, just as with the Changan, that we can solve our difficulties, increase our concentration, and indeed put a smile on our faces!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Rowan Centre Re-born in Romania

When I had to sell the Rowan Centre in Glastonbury, after Peter died, it seemed for a while that the Centre had died too.  The Rowan Centre with its studio, shop, play room and wonderful garden was like a dream come true.  We had waited in the hope that this property might come free in order to have our own special place.  And so we did for 5 years.

Now I realise that Rowan Centre can live again in our house in Romania.  Peter and I bought this house shortly after we met, especially because it has amazing views of the Carpathian Mountains.  It has a large garden and the beginnings of an orchard and we can make as much noise as we like and not disturb anybody!  At times when gazing out of the window there are storks grazing in the fields.

Already the plans are drawn up for a large messy play room, a studio big enough to dance in, and a library and tutorial room.  And enough residential accommodation for both individuals and families in the house or in tents.  More people can stay in the farmhouse five minutes away.

People attending the International Summer School can see all these developments and be a part of them.  A creative environment for creative activities! 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Whereas Greece is in the media on a regular basis, Romania gets less compassionate coverage in the press.  We tend to hear about the scams and cheats that form a tiny minority of people here in the  UK.  It is as if the enormous instant help, given when the orphanage scandal became public, is seen as the solution and we can walk away, job done.

Not only are the small children now teenagers and young adults, often sleeping on railway stations and in abandoned cars, but also the economy is suffering enormous cuts.  Five of my mature students were unable to attend a recent training course because they had not been paid since February, and had families to care for!

The projects we run in Romania provide employment for local Romanians in cooking, gardening, maintenance, crafts and well as spending in the local shops and markets, tourist sites and transport.  Think about the International Summer School 30 July - 13 August in glorious mountain scenery: email or Facebook: Dramatherapy and Creative Care.  You will have fun and gain a certificate as well as helping Romanians themselves.