Glynis Hull-Rochelle, Laura Henderson

Glynis Hull-Rochelle (she/her, USA, living in Prague for 30 years) is a drama therapist (Developmental Transformations) and body-centered therapist with additional training in trauma therapy and somatic/embodied modalities including dance/movement, politicized somatics and currently Somatic Experiencing. Glynis has been involved in social justice movements throughout her life and strives to bring embodied awareness into political activism and vice-versa. As a Montessori educator, yoga and contemporary circus teacher, she combines circus techniques with drama therapy in her work as a therapist and Social-Emotional Learning guide in schools, and also offers individual therapy and support groups in private practice and through NGOs, often for LGBTQIA+ teens and adults.

Laura Henderson (she/they, UK) is an art therapist who has lived in Prague since 2003. Laura has taken accredited courses in art therapy and somatic/movement approaches and completed her professional art therapy training in Developmental Transformations. Her background in LGBTQIA+ activism, gender equality, refugee rights, and as a researcher in the field of creative education for social change and ecological integrity all inform her work as an art therapist. She offers individual therapy and support groups in private practice and through NGOs.

We are keenly aware of the effects of socio-political systems on individual and collective mental health. As we know, some resources that can support us in maintaining emotional balance, dignity and strength include nature, physical movement and making music, creative expression, humor and play, and the experience of community, particularly that which empowers us to move toward social justice. In 2016, we established a program for LGBTQIA+ teens called Queer & Trans Youth, the only such service in the Czech Republic, which now has over 500 members on an online server and offers many events monthly, both online and in person in Prague and other Czech cities.

Abstract of workshop: HOW FREELY CAN YOU BREATH? Expressive arts therapists, privilege and working with minority stress.

We all breathe, but how freely we can breathe reflects our specific socio-cultural reality. Clients experiencing minority stress often feel constricted, presenting symptoms involving difficulty breathing and dis-ease, both literally and figuratively. The pathologization of otherness and marginalized identities has historically been embedded in clinical practice. Such mental health discourse may influence the underlying assumptions we make about our clients.

Creative arts therapy associations increasingly require their members to reflect critically upon the power dynamics that shape our lives and how our subjective identities and experience impact our awareness and understanding of other realities. It is useful to become aware of our own origins and status, and consider the significance of our client’s status related to identifiers such as race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, neurodiversity, social capital, rootedness in one’s home, a sense of and status of belonging. Having such an intersectional map to guide us can bring deeper empathy and connection into the therapeutic relationship.

In this workshop, we will investigate this concept of privilege in our work. Combining personal reflection and discussion, breath and somatic work, dramatic and expressive arts activities, we will process the following questions:

*How do I embody privilege in my life, in varying contexts?

*How can I educate myself and take responsibility so as not to burden clients with the work of teaching their therapist about their experiences of marginalization and minority stress?

*How can I keep dual awareness of privilege (mine and my client’s) when observing and identifying with my client’s embodied experience?

*How can I support my client’s wellness and feeling of freedom in the body in an unjust world?