Kathy Akers is a State Registered Dramatherapist, who has been registered with the Health and Care Professions Council since 2010. Kathy has a background as a theatre and drama practitioner, and is committed to the use of play, creativity and imagination in therapeutic work.
Kathy specialises in supporting children who are Looked After or in adoptive placements, children and young people recovering from complex trauma and abuse, as well as young people who are struggling to engage with education and who are neurodivergent. This includes working holistically with the network of support around the child to support trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, creatively-focussed thinking about how the child can be centred and supported.
Kathy is trained in Assessing and Working with Trauma and Dissociation in Children and Adolescents, which they undertook with Dr Renee Marks at Integrate Families. They also hold a Diploma in Trauma and Abuse Specialist Skills, with the Penny Parks Foundation, enabling them to deliver Parks Inner Child Therapy to adults and young people aged 15 and above. Both of these methods can be integrated into Dramatherapy sessions, or used as a stand-alone approach, according to the needs of the client.
Kathy holds a Diploma in Creative Approaches to Supervision, awarded by the London Centre for Psychodrama, and offers Clinical Supervision to clinical staff such as therapists, education staff, Health and Social Care workers, and staff in the Third Sector.
What does a Trauma and Dissociation-Focussed Dramatherapy Session look like?
A trauma-focussed approach to working with children acknowledges that children who have survived difficult and traumatic events may have developed adaptive survival strategies, that can be re-triggered by environmental stimuli. These strategies can sometimes be hard for people around the child to make immediate sense of, and can have an impact on the child’s attachment relationships. A trauma-focussed approach works with the child, as well as their parents and carers, to think about what might be behind behaviours and dynamics that are challenging for the family, from the perspective of the brain’s survival responses, and what the role of the different parts of the child’s presentation might be. Children and young people can begin to integrate their experience with the understanding of the adults around them, allowing the survival behaviours that are not helpful to them to reduce, and acknowledging and celebrating the brilliance and ingenuity of children who are moving from surviving into thriving. A trauma-informed approach to Dramatherapy centres the role of creativity, spontaneity and imagination in this healing process, and the importance of embodied play in grounding, creating resilience and supporting attachment. Sessions may involve talking and planning for goals, visualisations, non-verbal work, embodied play, image-making, work with role and story; and strategies for grounding, building resilience, and processing trauma to enable the child to really fulfil their potential.
What does a Creative Clinical Supervision Session look like?
Clinical Supervision is a space for practitioners to reflect, take stock and be supported to move forwards in their complex clinical work. Creative methods in supervision may involve use of image, objects, role play, movement, and creative writing; alongside verbal clinical discussion; to help focus on a case, theme or dynamic that is emerging for the practitioner. These sessions are appropriate for therapists and clinical staff, workers in the third sector, Health and Social Care staff, NHS workers, Education staff and any professional who works in a person-facing role where complex dynamics and trauma make up part of the work. Frequency of sessions can be adapted to the needs of each professional and sessions run for one hour. Kathy is a recently qualified Clinical Supervisor, on the Supervisors Register of the British Association of Dramatherapists