4 Pages

Commentary (GW)* on Chapter One: The role of space and location in psychotherapy, play, and theatre

ByJonathan Pedder

The start of therapy is framed as an initial encounter that might be considered in terms of the drama of a theatrical performance. Pedder compares the moment of the curtain-raising in the theatre with the opening moments in a therapy session. Both are experiences which are characterized by anxiety and anticipation, some of which is unavoidable, and some of which is necessary to achieve a level of focus. As one observes the drama unfold in the plot of a play, so the process of therapy begins to move towards a deeper encounter with the patient’s internal world; the plot thickens, as they say. Pedder adopts a well-known quote from the New Testament; “through a glass, darkly” which is usually interpreted to mean that people have an imperfect perception of reality. The sentiments here are clear enough: that psychotherapy orientates a clearer grasp of reality for the client. But it is not in a cognitive or rational sense of orientating the client, rather, Pedder’s idea is that it is through pleasure and play that we learn about the world, as we did in childhood and then onwards. The 2suspension of reality in drama and creative enterprise is the frame from which the role of play in psychotherapy is conceptualized.