[This would supplement chapters on drama therapy and also chapters that deal with spirituality, personal empowerment, creating rituals and ceremonies, and meaning making. Another link is Blatner's paper on using drama for discovering deeper meaning in life.]

The Story Within :
Myth and Fairy Tale in Therapy

Yehudit Silverman

Posted June 28, 2007

Although used as a form of therapy, this approach may also be used in workshops for personal development, aimed at helping healthy people live with more depth and vitality. Yehudit Silverman developed this original approach to using myth and fairy tale in therapy based on her twenty years of clinical experience working in hospitals with adults, adolescents, and children suffering from psychiatric disorders, eating disorders, delinquency, and abuse. In July, 2004, with the funding of two professional grants from Concordia University, she completed a documentary film based on this approach. In the film six people embark on journeys of profound self-discovery by immersing themselves in self-selected and personally meaningful myths or fairy tales. Professor Silverman has presented her work internationally as a creative arts therapist and as a performer, director, and choreographer.To view the film’s trailer, to purchase the film, or to learn more about The Story Within process go to http://www.thestorywithin.ca

The Story Within is an in-depth therapist-guided exploration of a story personally chosen by the client. The process of finding and working with the right story, character, and dramatic moment, provides a safe container within which to connect the challenge in the story with the client’s own personal problem. The process of creatively and emotionally engaging with the characters problem and challenges offers the client the opportunity to view the challenges from the characters perspective. The intimate bond formed between character and client increases the intensity of the process and for most it is deeply emotional. If the clients allow themselves to be led by their character they come to live the reality of their character’s journey and find themselves confronting their character’s trauma or deepest fear which they gradually realize is their own. Clients become immersed in creating masks, art work, costumes, dramatic scenes, sculpts and movement, without knowing where it will lead. This ‘not knowing’ and trust in the journey itself allows for deep work to be done. The internal story, the one that is hidden, buried, and hardest to access, can be gradually, and safely, revealed.

Yehudit Silverman, M.A., DTR, RDT, is an Associate Professor in the creative arts therapies department (CATS), Drama Therapy Option, at Concordia University. To read her faculty page, click on http://art-therapy.concordia.ca/facultypages/Final%20Versions/Yehudit.htm. [The MA program is an intensive two-year preparation for professional competence in the implementation of the dramatic arts in therapy. It is designed to educate and train drama therapists who will function as competent primary or adjunct professionals in their field with a strong sense of ethical and social responsibility. The program has been formally approved and accredited with the National Association for Drama Therapy (NADT) since 2000. To read more about the program go to http://art-therapy.concordia.ca/dr_index.htm Professor Silverman teaches The Story Within process in the CATS department. The course is offered as a three credit elective titled “Creative Process in Clinical Practice” please see http://art-therapy.concordia.ca/dr_courses.htm for more details about the course. Professor Silverman is also the Chair of Standards and Ethics for the NADT and is responsible for the revised NADT Ethical Code 2007.]

In 2006, Professor Silverman received both a provincial FQRSC grant, and a federal SSHRC grant, to examine the use of drama therapy projection and myth in the context of adolescent suicide, through an innovative and interdisciplinary approach, which bridges the disciplines of Drama, Mental Health, and Documentary Film. The goal of the research is to uncover the story that is emerging about how adolescents reach out for help, how they are helped, or not, and the shame and stigma that still surrounds the subject of suicide.

To inquire about future presentations, film screenings, and having Yehudit Silverman present at your University, Hospital, Community Centre, Conference, or other gatherings, write to info@thestorywithin.ca.