Hougham, Richard & Jones, Bryn

Is it the trees or is it the wood?

The play of projection, materiality and reciprocity in the therapeutic encounter.  

Richard Hougham & Bryn Jones

For Don Quixote, the windmills he sees are giants. They are not a poetic abstraction of another phenomenon, but something real. This dramatherapy workshop plays with the autonomous and emergent nature of images and materials and our perceptions of and positioning within them, inspired by the work of Peter Slade and Gaston Bachelard.

Peter Slade was a pioneer of dramatherapy in the UK in the middle of the last century. We will be drawing on the intersections between his ideas of projected and personal play and the potential for the animation of different materials in the therapeutic space. Slade spoke of projected play as a process involving the ‘projecting of a dream out of the mind … into, on to or around objects outside of oneself’. He also examined the experience of the ‘projecting’ individual and their state of being within this form of play and towards notions of personal play. He speaks of the moment when “I can’t get a symbol or an object to do this thing. I have to be involved myself. I do it. I create. I am” (Slade 1965). Slade traces a process which appears composed not of a long and drawn out singular discourse but one fuelled and evolved through ‘flashes’ of truth; “Think of the greatest moments of your life, were they not flashes of experience, great swords crossed? The moment of truth lives but in a second.” We are interested in examining these processes and the experience of playing and acting out from the heart of the action.

The workshop will also introduce ideas from phenomenology and the work of Gaston Bachelard. In particular, we will encourage emergent play, as the materiality of objects and the composition of the space is induced not engineered. This will involve the discipline of ‘moving out of the way’ and listening to the murmurings and signals of the materials themselves.

Bachelard’s notions of repercussions and resonances will offer a structure for reflection in order to think about individual and collective experience and questions of authorship and truth.

Slade, P. (1965) Child Drama and it’s Educational Value in Education. Educational Drama Association. University of Bangor.



Richard Hougham is Principal Lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, where he is course leader of the MA Drama and Movement Therapy course. He is Chair of the Executive Board of European Consortium of Arts Therapies Education (ECArTE) and has a particular interest in Jungian psychology. His research investigates the intersections of cultural healing practices, philosophy and the use of myth and story within the teaching and practice of dramatherapy.

Bryn Jones is Lecturer in Drama at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London). His current clinical practice as a dramatherapist includes group work with adults on an addiction therapy programme and for a bereavement service.  He tutors on the Creative Approaches to Supervision diploma course at the London Centre for Psychodrama and provides individual clinical supervision for therapists from a wide range of modalities. Bryn continues his practice as a theatre director. Most recently he has directed work for Arcola Theatre and Punchdrunk and is currently working on a piece for Ovalhouse which seeks to examine personal and social issues connected to experiences of loneliness.


Recent Publications

Richard Hougham

Hougham, R. and Jones, B. (2017) Dramatherapy, Reflections and Praxis, Palgrave Macmillan

Hougham, R. (2015) ‘Not form, but the marrow of forms’ Reflections on Lorca’s ‘duende’ in the arts therapies. In: Dimensions of Reflection in the Arts Therapies, University of Plymouth Press

Hougham, R. (2013) ‘Rehearsing the Unrehearsed, Reflections on the concept of presence in dramatherapy and performance training. Dramatherapy, Vol. 35, No. 2, 99–107, Routledge

Hougham, R. (2012) ‘The Matrix, Group Processes and Dramatherapy’. The Arts in Psychotherapy 39, 60-65, Elsevier


Bryn Jones

Hougham, R. and Jones, B. (2017) Dramatherapy, Reflections and Praxis, Palgrave Macmillan

Jones, B. (2017) ‘Silence’.  In: Hougham, R. and Jones, B. Dramatherapy, Reflections and Praxis, Palgrave Macmillan

Jones, B (2013) ‘Therapeutic Presence’ A filmed Practice-Based Enquiry into Therapeutic Presence. Research Excellence Framework. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London)

Jones, B. and Su, Ching Yuan (2011) Crouching Cider, Hidden Tofu. Sesame Journal Issue no.14