For several years I felt I had been expanding my play and dramatherapy practice beyond my original trainings into a more transpersonal or psychospiritual realm. Looking back, I believe this gradual shift came about as a response to the depth of suffering I witnessed in my clients. It seemed a natural, almost unconscious process to engage the services of something beyond my necessary yet limited skills. At that time I was teaching the elements of the psychotherapeutic relationship on the MA in Dramatherapy at Roehampton University during which time I came across the thought-provoking writing of Petruska Clarkson and in particular her exploration of the idea of Physis. Clarkson suggested that medical practitioners have long known about this healing force and those attuned and humble enough regard themselves as servants to Physis. She quotes sixteenth century physician Paracelsus:
There is nothing in me except the will to discover the best that medicine can do, the best there is in nature, the best that the Nature of the earth truly intends for the sick. Thus I say, nothing comes from me; everything comes from nature of which I too am a part
Paracelsus was, amongst other professions, an alchemist whose influence can be seen centuries later in the work and writing of Carl Jung.
I knew I wanted to embed my emerging enquiry and practice as a therapist in a bona fide training and this led me to the Karuna Institute, Devon. Karuna gave me the depth, contemplative psychotherapy training I needed.
The book evolved out of my Masters thesis on Buddhist Psychotherapy. Originally called ‘The Role of Play in Awakening Being’ I wanted to bring together my experience as a play and dramatherapist and my learning and practice as a Buddhist psychotherapist. To my utter delight, I discovered how much playfulness exists in Buddhist practices and core teachings.