The Couch and the Stage: Integrating Words and Action in Psychotherapy / Edition 1

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This book is intended to explore how action approaches to psychotherapy grew out of Western verbal methods and even traditional shamanic practices, eventually coalescing into a theory and practice that is creative and holistic. As the central concept in the book, action refers to the therapeutic application of drama, play and non-verbal expression in the service of engaging the body, mind and emotions of clients in a process of healing. The action psychotherapies featured in the book primarily include Gestalt therapy, psychodrama, and drama therapy, although the focus will be upon the latter two. The main purpose of this book is to make a case for the inclusion of the action psychotherapies into the mainstream of psychotherapy, mental health counseling and clinical social work. This perspective is well supported by the addition of action psychotherapies within recent mainstream anthologies in play therapy, counseling and psychotherapy, and by current research in neuroscience, pointing to the holistic nature of the brain and its dramatic networks, such as the mirror neurons. Action approaches will be seen as especially valuable for mental health professionals who conceive of their work within a holistic, creative and relational framework.

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Editorial Reviews

Bessel A. van der Kolk
Robert Landy has written a gripping and scholarly book that highlights the importance of re-engaging the imagination and replacing helpless paralysis with effective action in order to resolve people's traumatic past. Since trauma causes people to feel deserted by god and man, engaging with others in play, improvisation, and rhythmical activities, and activating the mirror neurons in the brain, helps them re-establish a sense of synchronicity and human connection, new possibilities, and the transformation of traumatic experiences.
Eric Booth
Robert Landy's brilliant new book provides an extraordinary and needed service to the fields of psychology, psychotherapy and the arts. His insights illuminate distinctions we have not seen before, trace paths that re-order our grasp of the past, and point to the evolution of trends that suggest a more creative and healthy future. This is a book you will re-read and quote; I already have done both.
M. Brinton Lykes
Robert Landy's latest contribution to action psychotherapies is an excellent critical introduction to dramatic and action therapies. Through historical analysis, theoretical discussion, and analysis of clinical practice, Landy demonstrates how creativity, spontaneity, and dramatic therapies constitute an integrative and holistic resource for psychological healing. Clinical case material and assessment resources as well as detailed applications of role method, psychodrama, and developmental transformations with a single client support his theoretical argument for a confluence between contemporary therapeutic healing and shamanism; between dramatic therapies and classic psychoanalysis. This is a must-read not only for therapists but for community activists, advocates, and health or development workers accompanying survivors of economic and political trauma. Landy's discussion of dramatic and action therapies in clinical work with individuals are deeply suggestive of how an exploration of the past through creativity, spontaneity, and dramatic play in the present can serve as critical resources towards the collective construction of a better future and social transformation.
John Woodall
This book is a monumental intellectual achievement destined to become a classic. Landy's cogent and insightful rendering of the roots of action therapies alone provides a rich background study of this important and often poorly understood field. But Landy goes further, placing his own rich contributions to the field within this historic context. The reader is left with valuable tools with which to integrate an understanding of the strengths of the various action therapies and the significant role they play in serving the therapeutic community. The solid intellectual heritage of the field is explored in depth while opening possibilities to the reader for future innovation. A true tour de force, The Couch and the Stage will serve as a foundational guide to students and professionals in the action therapies, psychodynamic, constructivist and cognitive-behavioral therapies for years to come.
Jonathan Fox
Let's hear your story. More than that, let's act it out. How the result can be so profoundly healing is explained in this superb guide to the action therapies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765704498
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/20/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 298
  • Sales rank: 879,334
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert J. Landy, Ph.D., RDT/BCT, LCAT is Professor of Educational Theatre and Applied Psychology and Director of the Drama Therapy Program at New York University. A pioneer in the profession of Drama Therapy, he lectures and trains professionals internationally. As researcher and writer, Landy has published and produced numerous books, articles and plays in the fields of Drama, Drama Therapy, Musical Theatre and related topics. He has been featured in the media in the CBS-TV series 'Drama in Education,' the award-winning documentary film, 'Standing Tall,' and his own production, 'Three Approaches to Drama Therapy.' As a drama therapist, Landy has more than 30 years of clinical experience, having treated children and adults with a wide range of psychiatric, cognitive and adjustment problems. He has also worked in prisons, developing drama therapy programs within the New York State Department of Corrections.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword: The World of Multiple Stages Chapter 2 Foreword Chapter 3 Shamans and Psychoanalysts Chapter 4 Pioneers of Action Psychotherapy Chapter 5 An Overview of the Dramatic Therapies Chapter 6 Role Theory and the Role Method of Drama Therapy Chapter 7 Psychodrama Chapter 8 Developmental Transformations in Drama Therapy Chapter 9 A Comparison of the Action Psychotherapies: Towards a Model of Theory and Practice Chapter 10 Applications of Action Psychotherapies to Clinical Disorders Chapter 11 An Integration Chapter 12 References

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