A Therapist moving Beyond Therapy into Applied Theatre Practice: A Personal Account by a Rogerian Practitioner
Baker, Erin Sullivan
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
As a Rogerian mental health therapist, a personal journey was taken that establishes my practice ethics as an applied theatre practitioner. What was undertaken was the unpacking of a practice ethics gained through my training as an actor and therapist. This thesis examines the role of codes or standards of practice in humanistic counselling, applied theatre and a synthesized practice between both. Standards of practice shape these practices through the specific ideologies relevant within the institutional cultures in which the practice is applied. This is especially problematic when the institutional setting understands care delivery as practice shaped by problem identification, interventions and expected outcome goals. Further, the ideology that underpins the standard, becomes self-reinforcing and tends to exert influence over what type of practice is culturally relevant or considered best practice within the institutional setting. This is of concern for practitioners who practice from a different or multiple ideological base from the institutional setting in which they work. A shaping goal of the research was to test-out, through critical evaluation, if the American Counseling Association’s (ACA’s) standards of practice was relevant and applicable to a synthesized practice between humanistic counselling practice and applied theatre practice. The results posed by the critical evaluation suggest that the ACAs standard is not applicable because it promotes empirical, or rather, evidenced-based models of practice over humanist ones. Because of its limited scope of application, the ACAs model is not applicable to synthesized or dual practices that bridge particular fields. Through lines of valuing within bridged fields, usually represent multiple ideological drivers. It was found that as a standard of practice the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) standard is a better fit. It is compatible with social construction. Within the research Carl Rogers’ humanistic, client-centered and non-directive therapy is contrasted with Joseph Chaikin’s brand of experimental theatre exemplified in his The Presence of the Actor. Chaikin’s book is used as a tool to reconstruct examples of what I came to understand as ethical practice while attending drama school in the UK. The understandings gleaned by the juxtaposition impacts how I understand the ACAs utility as a practitioner.
PhD in Drama