Holloway, P, Seebohm, H & Seymour, A

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis: new articulations of stasis and change


Pete Holloway, Henri Seebohm, Anna Seymour


“It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.”  Henry Miller

As Bertolt Brecht declared, “the old hobbles in with the new...”. The ‘new’ can never quite shake off the ‘old’. The past clings on in the edges and folds of experience sometimes hidden, sometimes revealed but ever present.

Even a cursory look at the dilemmas facing Western Society across Europe and the US and the social movements and ‘identity politics’ arising from such, illustrates the battle between the ‘old’ ideas attempting to conserve the established order and the ‘new’ ideas of emergent movements hoping to initiate fundamental change. In the consulting room we are constantly presented with the struggle between familiar and established patterns (no matter how distressing and dysfunctional) and the prospect of personal growth involving uncertainty and the daunting prospect of change.

 The triad of terms which describes the dialectical method represent ‘old’ ideas which have endured continuous challenges. From the discourses of early Greek philosophy, through the C19 period of German idealism to the current resurgence in leftist activism, the dialectic has retained a radical potential for artists and intellectuals. The recent edition of the journal Performance Research (2016, Vol 21:3), On Dialectics, invites reconsideration of its core principles as a ‘praxis that places fracture and antagonism at its heart’. 

Through a creative synthesis of an exploration of dramatic texts, framed in the cultural theories of Gramsci, Williams and Chomsky and the revolutionary theatrical work of Brecht, Beckett and Boal this workshop, led by three dramatherapists, will offer a playful exploration of dialectical ‘praxis’ in relation to the therapeutic and political dimensions of identity, class and social change.



presenter photo

Pete Holloway is a Consultant Dramatherapist with the NHS in England and a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, Roehampton University. He has a particular interest in working with destructive and self-destructive patterns of behaviour and finding ways to reframe such behaviours as creative attempts to resolve overwhelming life experiences.


Henri Seebohm is Convenor of the MA Dramatherapy programme at Roehampton University.   She has worked extensively in adult forensic psychiatry and currently works with young women in a community setting.  She has a particular interest in exploring projections and introjections of shared experiences of fear, control and shame through play, movement and role-play.

Anna Seymour is Professor of Dramatherapy at the University of Roehampton where she specialises in the therapeutic application of theatre forms and scholarship in the dramatherapy relationship. She is a researcher and international trainer.


Recent Publications

Dokter, D., Holloway, P. & Seebohm. H. (eds) (2011) Dramatherapy and Destructiveness – Creating the Evidence-base, Playing with Thanatos.  Routledge 2011

Haythorne,D.,  Seymour, A. (eds.)(2016) Dramatherapy and Autism, London and new York: Routledge Taylor and Francis

Seymour, A, (2016) The Dialectic in Motion - a reflective tool for arts therapists. In: Hougham, R., Pitruzzella, S., Scoble, S. (eds) Dimensions of reflection in the arts therapies. University of Plymouth Press

Seymour, A. (in press) Personal theatre, Process and Pedagogy.  In: Emunah, R., Johnson, D.R., Pendzik, S. The self in performance: Autobiographical, self – revelatory and auto-ethnographic forms of therapeutic theatre, (Palgrave Mac Millan)


Conference presentations

Holloway & Seebohm  (2016/November) ‘The world turned inside out’ - politics, professionalism and therapeutic process. Dramatherapy Wales Conference

Holloway, P. (2013) “Complex Trauma - the battle to be human, the war against terror and shame” – Inaugural Annual Lecture for FCS Therapeutic Community Project, Akron, Ohio August 2013

Seymour, A. (2016) Keynote speaker: On Dramatherapy, 9th International Festival of Theatre academies, Dionysus Diversity Through Play, University of Osijek 2016

Seymour, A. (2015) Keynote speaker: British Association of Play Therapists Conference, University of Birmingham

Seymour, A. (2014) Invited speaker, ‘The political is the personal - political aesthetics changing lives’, at ‘Whither political theatre?’ Cambridge Conference for a Poetics of Critical Political Theatre in Europe, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and St John’s College, Cambridge