Meet the Dramatherapist: Stephanie Coombes

Stephanie is Orri’s Dramatherapist and IFS Therapist. We sat her down to learn more about her role and approach, and her passion for working with those recovering from eating disorders.

How long have you been a clinician for and what were you doing before Orri?

I have been a practising Dramatherapist since 2005. Early on in my Dramatherapy career I worked in Adult Mental Health and Dual Diagnosis, before moving into early intervention work with pupils in schools.

Can you tell us about the type of therapy/discipline that you practice?

My initial training was in something called the Sesame Approach to Dramatherapy, which supports an indirect, symbolic, way of working with clients’ images to support healing. Since those early days, I’ve remained passionate about the role that imagination, creativity and movement can play in supporting mental health and wellbeing, communication, and connection. I recently trained in Internal Family Systems and love how it compliments my practice.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

What I enjoy most about my work at Orri, is supporting a client’s connection to self – to their creativity, potential and health – in the here and now, with others. A great deal of satisfaction comes from witnessing a client experience themselves as okay and supporting them to find other ways of speaking for and accepting the parts that don’t feel that way but need to be understood.

What I love about Orri is the community aspect and the fact that there is a team of kind and experienced practitioners who are committed to working together to support the clients in their recovery.

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your role?

One of the most challenging aspects of being an Arts Therapist, in this field, is maintaining space for colour, creativity and the unknown, within the black and white world of the eating disorder. 

What do you feel is most unique about Orri?

Orri’s uniqueness can be found in its ability to hold the hope for recovery.

Outside of work, what do you do for your own mental wellbeing?

Outside of work I like to walk with my dog, spend time with my family, listen to music, go to the theatre and connect with friends.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

I’ve always enjoyed the quote by the 13th Century Persian poet Rumi. ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.’ Such wisdom in those words, about creating space from judgement.

Why are you working in mental health/therapy?

My interest in drama, in how it helped me to express and contain my emotions and self-regulate, led me down the path of training as a Dramatherapist to support other people with their mental health.

If you had one piece of advice for a therapy-seeker, what would it be?

The word therapy can be traced back to its Greek origins, meaning to serve and to attend to. By engaging in therapy, and seeking out help, you are taking care of yourself and allowing your inner wounds to receive the attention they need to heal.

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