Leonie der Kinderen
“While assisting people in their development I am privileged to share in their thoughts, stories and emotions. It is wonderful to facilitate the space for someone to feel, experiment and reflect.”
The beauty I find in human growth, connection and development is the main reason I have been developing as a mental health specialist since 2007. (If you would like to learn more about my credentials scroll down for some impressions or visit my Linkedin page.)
Currently I am putting all my love and care into creating a center for the Arts Therapies. We offer therapy that has learning through experiencing at it’s core. My background is in drama therapy, where I have learned how to use theater and play in a therapeutic manner. Since then I have developed many additional ways of assisting the therapy process using exercises from other art forms and psychological frameworks. The kind of exercises depend on the preference of the client, some like to talk mostly, some like to use art or poetry. It’s about creating an environment that is custom made for the person who is looking to process past experiences or develop themselves further.
In workshops about conversation skills I combine theory and practical exercises. Focusing on dialogue offers the opportunity to improve communication and conversation skills such as listening, empathy and (self)reflection.
Dramatic therapy focuses on non-verbal communication and self expression. It focuses on the experience of the body. I really enjoy the workshops in which we explore mainly (non-verbal) contact or expression, for example through improvisation, dance or theatre.
Improvisation is a wonderful way to practice social skills in a playful and humorous way. In addition, it is a fantastic comfort zone enhancer. I mainly focus on improvisation within theatre and movement.
Assertiveness and Boundaries
When you involve your body in reflecting on personal boundaries, it often brings clarity in past experiences, feelings and preferences in contact with others. Assertiveness is best learned with practical exercises such as role-playing.
Relationships and Intimacy
Within these subjects, I mainly focus on consensual contact. How can you shape relationships consciously in collaboration? Consentwork includes boundaries, self awareness, assertiveness, open communication and tuning into the other.
Tailor made workshop?
I regularly give workshops on location for external clients. (Improvisation lessons at schools, workshops in consent and boundaries in higher education, team building activities). Feel free to contact me with specific questions or to request a quotation.
During my training as a drama therapist, I focused on young people with personality problems, a target group where my humour and my enthusiasm were appreciated. Afterwards I started working within a company that focused on children with developmental problems (ADHD, autism). In addition to therapeutic counselling, I also went into the woods with these children and built dens in which we ate food the kids and me prepared together. Later, I enjoyed working with adults with mild cognitive and behavioural disabilities within a wonderfully dynamic team where there was plenty of room for experimenting with structure to improve the quality of care in our department. After this I broadened my work experience working with incredibly beautiful and challenging young children with severe mental and physical disabilities. Where I enjoyed enhancing their development through doing arts and crafts, play and making music together. When I started to shape Centrum Vaktherapie with Casper Maas and Sirik de Jong I worked simultaneously at within Koraalgroep, an institution that focuses on young people with a mild intellectual disability and behavioural problems. At these places I gained experience with various methods within drama therapy, various behavioural therapeutic frameworks, training in social skills and cooperation with various disciplines within the care sector. Since August ’17 I work with solely through Centrum Vaktherapie.
Dramatherapy is an experience based therapy form in which a lot of attention is paid to practicing skills, personal expression and externalising and shaping the inner world of dreams, emotions and thoughts.
An experience from when I worked as a drama therapist with adults with a mild intellectual disability and behavioral problems within the organization 'Dichterbij'.
"The client no longer knows what to say and falls out of his role. "Shit I'm doing it all wrong again." The client stammers. He looks so dejected I can’t help but laugh. ‘You were doing so well! What happened?' ‘... I did not know what to say anymore. That’s exactly what normally happens to me!’ I propose to write down some helpful thoughts and use them as a cheat sheet. He writes things down like 'just stay calm and something to say or ask will come up’ and ‘ it’s okey to say that I don’t know what to say'. The second sentence is beautiful to me, because it is so hard for him to be vulnerable. He tries so hard to hide his disability, and is therefor often stressed and insecure in conversation with new people. We resume the role play and he practises saying: "I don’t know what to say right now.” A week later he comes in with a big grin: ‘My date went well! Sometimes I didn’t know what to say, but that did not matter at all!’"