Marc Willemsen

Marc Willemsen, MA, is a registered drama therapist and a senior lecturer at the arts therapies department HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht. He is connected to the HU research center Youth and the research center Arts therapies KenVaK. He published and presented about the benefits of DvT in areas of the development of the bodily self and embodiment, attachment and autonomy, grief and loss, stress and (complex) trauma. After working at the child and adolescent division of a psychiatric hospital (GGzCentraal), he initiated the shared practice Het Speelvlak, joined the health-professionals-network 1nP and became a supervisor for the nationwide institute for loss and grief in the Netherlands. As a puppet-player of Wolkentheater he created plays for refugee children. He is a graduate of the Institute for DvT, a registered supervisor, psychodrama therapist and group-therapist. He is an EFD board member and training director of DvT Netherlands North.D

Abstract of Workshop: LAST BREATH. Dramatic dying as a playful door to differentiation and desensitization in (sensory-focused) Trauma Centered Developmental Transformations

Much has been stated about the healing benefits of play. Nachmanovitch states for example that: “To play is to free ourselves from arbitrary restrictions and expand our field of action. Our play fosters richness of response and adaptive flexibility. This is the evolutionary value of play – play makes us flexible.” (1990, p.43). Play gives us the opportunity to be moved by the lived stories we carry with us, rescript or transform them, incorporate and (further) integrate them or let them go. But what if we at young age experience or experienced continuing territorial aggression? Subconsciously we are anticipating harm, are focused on detecting threat and therefore a survival response will be easily triggered. Such a response can mark a boundary where play leaves off and where something else less pleasurable and les wholesome begins. It seems that the healing benefits of play are limited when it comes to overwhelming stories of territorial aggression. Play in sensory-focused Trauma-Centered Developmental Transformations (sensory-focused TC-DvT) proves otherwise.

Sensory focused TC-DvT is an improvisation-based practice based on the concept of the playspace and consistent with principles of trauma-centered psychotherapy. Within the imaginal intermediate and intersubjective realm of the playspace, the therapist and client(s) playfully interact (Johnson, 2014; Willemsen, 2020). In this workshop I will share how sensory focused TC-DvT offers a playful door to differentiation and desensitization. I will argue the value and importance in (complex-)trauma-treatment of moving courageously towards the edge of the playspace and interacting sensitively in the hazy borderland of the playable and unplayable. And why for this approach dramatic skills to play the victim and perpetrator are crucial. Be prepared to continue to explore the challenges of these roles until your last breath…