Meet the Therapist: Shalom Lee-Ramsbottom
What attracted you to become a therapist?
After experiencing my own life challenges many years ago, I went to therapy and was helped to overcome them. I then sought to understand how and why therapy is so effective and beneficial for so many people who choose to engage.
Where did you train?
I trained as a clinical social worker at Hunter College School of Social Work in New York/USA, then later as a drama therapist in London at Roehampton University.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
Essentially, drama therapy is involvement in drama with a healing intention. Its methods include the use of movement, voice, dance, mindfulness, conversation, theatre games, role play, improvisation, text work/stories/poetry, art-work, puppets and masks.
Drama therapy facilitates change for clients through drama processes. It uses the potential drama to reflect and transform a person’s life experiences to enable clients to express and work through problems they are encountering or to maintain a client’s health, well-being and health.
I chose this modality due to my former career and original passion in the performing arts. I believe that the journey towards overcoming traumas and personal life challenges requires a gentle and distanced approach in order to resolve issues, delve deeply into root causes and contain my client’s feelings through the therapeutic relationship.
How does drama therapy help with symptoms of depression and anxiety?
Drama therapy can help with the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Through different role plays and enactment, the person is made aware about the disturbing emotion causing the psychological condition. It involves providing a safe space where the context is set for clients to tell their stories, set goals, solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis.
It is an effective and efficient therapy for most of the anxiety disorders e.g.: stage fright, public speaking, social awkwardness, general anxiety disorders, etc. It is particularly beneficial for people with borderline depression, as well as people with clinical depression.
Drama therapy has taught me that the creative arts have the incredible capacity of being adapted for healing and enabling people to begin difficult conversations, for finding resolutions by working with metaphors, stories and narratives.
What sort of people do you usually see?
As a drama therapist I see clients ranging from reception aged children (4 years old), CAMHS and up to the elderly at the other end of the age spectrum (90 yrs old). We tend to see clients in groups or as individuals/one-to-one.
I have worked with clients suffering mainly with: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and various forms of trauma.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I am invested and passionate about my role as a therapist, because I feel that the therapeutic relationship, in and of itself, can be the vital healing factor for those in emotional pain. It is through this relationship that an individual can face themselves, be truly heard and seen and can ultimately be witnessed with compassion as they embark on their journey of change and growth. We all need this in order to thrive.
I am honoured to be in position to facilitate my clients process towards healing, change and growth. The most special component of the therapist’s role in my view is the uniqueness of a rapport with another, which can be a vehicle for a client making connections for themselves and ultimately gaining self-acceptance and the confidence to change maladaptive behaviours .
What is less pleasant?
- Transference/projection – when a client needs to use their therapist as a focus for their toxic relationships/past, in order to move on.
- Resistance – whereby the client rejects or tests their therapist’s interventions in order to hold onto personal power.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have only just joined welldoing.org this year. I think this site and its approach to helping people access the therapist that is right for the individual is such a progressive and fresh way of supporting people on a journey which otherwise could feel lonely and daunting.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
The Calm app is a wonderful resource.
What you do for your own mental health?
I run regularly, kitchen discos are a necessity for me (by myself is the jewel, with other family members also works), yoga, tennis, bike rides, singing…anywhere and everywhere, listening to music, reading, having a spiritual/religious life, engaging with friendship groups, playing with my children.
You are a therapist in Hampshire, Dorset and online. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that/those area(s)?
I work in the county of Hampshire where I serve adults and CAMHS clients, running group and individual therapy sessions in a psychiatric hospital ward.
I also work in an infant/primary school working with reception and years 1 and 2 children, both individually and within group therapy sessions. I also run my private practice in the county of Dorset, as well as working with clients online.
What’s your consultation room like?
My private practice consulting room is a bright and airy office space, with wall-to-wall book shelves and some decorative art on the walls. It has a warm and inviting feel to it with plenty of natural light, as well as offering a sense of safety and security.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I wish that people understood that therapy is merely ‘looking in the mirror’ and seeking to make the adjustments from within in order to feel grounded, balanced and content.
Therapy is a brave and courage step because it asks that the client approaches to do the work from within themselves, with the help from their therapist. The gift of therapy is the compassion and support of the assigned therapist.
Lastly, that therapy is not is a quick fix.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learnt that I spent far too long not being true to myself and speaking my truth in order to make everyone else around me happy, and to be accepted by others.
Therapy was the beginning of my journey towards self-acceptance, growth and healthy ongoing development.