Experiential Psychodrama Retreat with Annette Fisher and Katherine Howard 28 April 2023

Spontaneity and Creativity – moving into the new. .

For people with any level of experience in psychodrama (from none to lots!). There is a payment plan option if you want to budget for it! 

Spontaneity can be defined as the adequate response to a new or present situation, or an adequate and novel response to an old situation.

We are all born with spontaneity and creativity.

The last several years have thrown us all into the new. Months of lockdown, wearing masks, social distancing, working from home, social isolation, home schooling, no school for our children and separation from family and loved ones; as well as for some, loss of work and income. All this has meant a needed response of digging deep and finding new ways to be in the world. There is frustration for those who love to travel and have the freedom to move around the world.

The world we know and trust has changed. And now we are moving back into “the normal”- what does that mean for you?

Despite uncertainty and fear we have found ways to be creative with our life and at other times we have found ways to just get by. Some have found that they have learnt to be slower and more focused and have been deciding on a new approach to their life.

This workshop will focus on the range of responses the pandemic has created in our lives: and what moving “back” into “normal” might mean: some of the responses might include grief, or rage; despair, or stoicism; there may even be pleasure, excitement or curiosity. As we focus on our responses to what has been, we will also explore spontaneity and creativity and source these as we create and build on our vision for the next stage of our life.

Date: Friday 28th April – Sunday 30 April 2023
Location: Rydal Mount, Rydal NSW 2790, Australia
Fee: $595 AUD
Booking: Click here for more information and to book

Wise Woman Gathering 19 -21 May 2023

Shadow Cycles: The shadow of the lover.

The Cave of Shadows is the residence somewhere within your psyche and body of all those disowned, disavowed roles in you. They reside- pushed into the dark as things that are fear full or provocative or unacceptable somehow. These Shadow roles push particularly hard to come out and show themselves when you are in a relationship with another- all relationships, but most especially those close intimate relationships where you become Lover (Lover is not necessarily a sexual role- but could be)

This session will focus on the woman’s phase of life which I call the Lover- she lies at the North East of the Woman’s Wheel of Life at the point between Maiden and Mother, the time of Beltaine. 

We will consider an overview of the Woman’s Wheel of Life, share and explore what Shadow means generally and in particular for the Lover in you. And finally we will explore and practice ways of understanding relationship, ways of developing mutuality where there is difference and ways of developing skilled communication.

Friday & Saturday 1.15pm

Being a Hedgewitch

I wonder if it is easier to know who you are not rather than who you are? And who defines that anyway?

Years ago (perhaps 2013) I was in Ireland at a women’s conference, planning to present a psychodrama workshop on “Being Your Authentic Self.” I poked my head out of the door of my room (despite appearances, I tend to be quite introverted in large groups where “meeting and greeting” and small talk seems to be a requirement)- just as the woman in the room next door was poking her head out…I recognised her from the program and we chatted (briefly). One of the things she defined herself as was a “Hedgewitch” (or is it Hedge Witch?). I remember being curious and asking her about it (what is a Hedgewitch anyway?). I actually don’t remember her answer. I do remember that she oozed an “I’m special” vibe and a “mind your own business” vibe.

As it evolved, my workshop was poorly attended and I discovered once more that the word “Psychodrama” generates terror in many peoples’ hearts…And combined with authenticity, it was fatal. People said they were curious but didn’t come because they feared it would be too confronting…(What the hell is wrong with confronting? I have a personal love of it!)

Perhaps I am a Hedgewitch.

I have spent all of my professional life having to explain who I was and what I do (“Oh, what’s an Occupational Therapist? What’s Psychodrama? What’s that symbol you wear?”).

I have often found myself in the in-between places. Not quite a corporate woman, despite working long hours in management in a patriarchal corporation; not quite a business consultant, despite spending a good 20 years as one; not quite a good mother (by patriarchal definitions); not quite a good partner (patriarchal again); not quite new age or alternative. I love science, maths and structure… and I love trees, the spirit of place, sacred ancient landscapes and symbols, various Goddesses, ritual, the women’s mysteries and herbs.

I don’t know if there is a technical definition of Hedgewitch. She who lives on the edge of the village or town.

She who loves her own company, quality relationships and does not tolerate fools. She who understands structure and patriarchy and can work with this and the best that it brings without being seduced into patriarchal conformity. She who loves the earth and sentient beings and inhabits the wild borderlands. She who lives and celebrates the ways of women’s wisdom and healing but can also accept and use the best that western medicine has to offer.

Perhaps it is the Hedgewitches of this world who will form the bridge, or even the truly authentic and equal marriage of the best of patriarchy and the best of matriarchy (aka Cyclical Wisdom).

It’s a fear-some word that includes the word witch. Sharon Blackie in her book “Hagitude” talks of the “Witch Wound” having come about as a result of the witch burnings, and giving us a deep fear of being too different, or labelled as weird, a fringe dweller, an outcast (for these were the ones who were burned). Too confronting. Not chosen.

I think I am a Hedgewitch

Does any of this resonate with you?

Keep the Channel Open

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. 

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urge that motivates you.

Keep the channel open.”


Martha Graham to Agnes DeMillein ‘Dance to the Piper’

During Women’s Wisdom Circle 2 days ago, as a part of setting intentions, I affirmed the many threads of me and my life that create my unique way of being, unique way of bringing my work to the world.

What are the many threads and learnings of your life that you weave together to create your unique self?

As a Maga woman (or a Queen/Creatrix/Autumn Woman or whatever you wish to call that phase between Mother and Crone) I experience the solidness of gathering these threads and affirming to myself “This is me…There is no other exactly like me”.

My uniqueness includes my role as mother to 3 daughters, grandmother to 6 small people, partner, occupational therapist, psychodramatist, counsellor, group therapist, shamanic craftswoman, teacher, knitter/crafter and Irish pagan…and other roles. What are your roles that woven together make up your uniqueness?

Frida Kahlo

I went to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Sydney Festival with my daughters last week. We all love Frida and she is a role model for weaving your threads together to become your unique self.

There is also a shadow side to this uniqueness which seems to be a theme seasonally at Summer time – the time of the Mother.


Because ‘Mother’ as a life phase is so oriented to relationships, the wounding of “Where do I belong? Who do I belong with?” can come up fiercely. Alone-ness, lonely-ness. A child’s unexpressed question translated to the woman – “Who will love me in my unique-ness?” And, unresolved, the wound might be carried through to the Maga years.

I guess that Frida belonged with Diego Rivera – I haven’t yet resolved that puzzle!

I have a stronger sense of Belonging now than ever before. I used to focus on where I didn’t belong, where I didn’t fit. Even when I was younger, I used to think, “How can I make myself fit,” as I suffered the contortions of making myself the shape and texture of what society and those around me thought I “should” be.

And now, I belong with my beloved partner, my family and my work – all of which are unique and treasured. I belong to land and times, some of which I don’t see clearly. And to my friends, of which I don’t have many – well I have lots, but the friends who have been a thread coming in and out of my life and theirs – they are my Belonging ones.

And especially with these 3 women. My children – the children of the Mother phase of my life. Jaime turns 40 this week, so I have been a Mother now (Earth-side) for 40 years. Wow! So much gratitude, and reflection, and a few regrets. We are unique. Let’s celebrate xxx

A year ahead of dreams come true

I find myself with little to say right now. In my cave. Which I quite like. 
Struggling with technology as I commence using a HICAPS machine. What that means is: if you see me for counselling, you will need to pay for the session in full at the time of consult by Eftpos (or you can pay the gap in cash at the time)…….. AND I can process your medicare rebate on the spot. This is one of my chief “making my life simpler” strategies as it will cut down significantly on admin time. Well- at least it will when I get used to the technology of it.
Unfortunately it will also mean a small increase in session fees at some point (maybe February) to cover the cost of the technology (and bank fees).

And I have begun in earnest to plan and write my book on Shadow Cycles – Cyclical Wisdom for Mental Health. This will weave together the threads of my learnings and experience- Western medicine, Shamanic Womancraft, Psychodrama, Goddess work and the rituals of the seasons and a broad range of counselling modalities. 
Who knows.. it may even morph into my own particular sort of counselling and groupwork training………. time will tell!
In the meantime from my cave……… I wish you all a year to come of dreams-come-true; whatever those dreams may be.

Summer Solstice in Australia

It’s December…Summer Solstice time in Australia. The time of Full Bloom. And Gratitude.

Lately I have been encouraging people to create a gratitude jar – Write little notes whenever you notice something to be grateful for and pop them into a jar. Then, every month at full moon, read them. Some people save there gratitudes for the New Year and read their gratitudes as a way to end the year and begin afresh. 

I notice my gratitudes when I walk in nature, or sit quietly and when I have a gloomy day (which is thankfully not that often).

Right now I am especially grateful for the health and wellbeing of my beloveds – all of them – my partner, family and dear friends. I’m also grateful for my own health and wellbeing and for my homes and connection with the earth.

And I am very grateful for you, who read my newsletters, come to counselling and/or workshops or connect in other ways. Thank you. I am sending love and many blessings at this Solstice time to you and your loved ones.

May the year ahead hold health and happiness and dreams-come-true. 

I pulled these cards for the Solstice; they are from the Wisdom of the Cailleach Oracle deck by the marvellous Irish artist, Jane Brideson.

Simple tasks

Today my Mum and Dad decided to go to the shops and Bingo. This may not sound like a revolutionary action – but last week they had covid. They are in their 80s, and had managed to avoid it until now. So I was immensely relieved to hear about the shopping/bingo adventure.

And this week, in an unrelated germ invasion, I managed to get it. This was my 2nd go round with the virus. In some things I am a slow learner. When I need rest but keep going, my body ends up enforcing rest. So rest is what I am doing (mostly).

The sun has been around for a good few days now…and the winds. The garden is wild and the house much happier now that there has been so little rain (how can I tell if my house is happy? Listen….) We do love rain, but sometimes enough is enough! 

It is still cold here in the Mountains and the fire needs to be lit most days. I have developed a dislike for curtains and am trying to leave windows bare so as to invite the outside in….Here is my office window in the morning light. Wild indeed.

Am I addicted?

Not so long ago, upon a moment when I was throwing my hands around explaining how very tired I was and how very very busy, a dear friend suggested (ever so gently) – “Did you ever consider that you might be addicted to busy?”

So, after a string of illnesses and body frailties (for which I have no tolerance or time), I decided to dedicate some time for reflection by using what I call “The Addiction Diamond”***

I often use this with clients who are in the thick of addiction. Truth be told – the last straw for me was after being ill off and on for months (tempted to blame covid, but who knows?) I missed a Circle that I lead every Wednesday morning (that means I didn’t turn up folks) because I forgot to change my clock to daylight savings time…I know, I know, anyone could do that, but it is totally unacceptable to me and a sign I am not in my flow.

Back to the Addiction Diamond…below is a truly dreadful drawing, but you’ll get the idea.

I begin by standing in the south (the place of air and thinking) and look at the “Busy” (the object of my addiction) and ask “What do you give me?”. Busy says, “I give you financial security, a sense of self importance, a sense of purpose” (and other things, but I’m not writing a book right now, just a newsletter).

Then I move to the East (the place of water and flow and emotions) and ask Busy, “What do you protect me from?” Busy says back, straight away, “I protect you from boredom and from being a No-one…Nobody and probably from being unloved… Busy gives me love – who knew? (A childhood imprint maybe).Urgh! And other things…Busy is quite protective.

Then I move to the North (the place of fire and passion) and I ask Busy “What do you Cost me?” Busy says that this involves a rather long list which includes exhaustion, not caring for body, not taking nourishment in nature and by writing etc etc.

And then I move to the west (the place of earth and the ancestors) and I stand in my Wise Self. 
This is the place of integration. Here, I can be kind to my wounds and anxieties. Here, I can think in a clear way about the needs underlying the gifts of busy, the wounds underlying the protection of busy.

There is more work to do. I will slow down. Re-create my space for walking in nature, exercising and a daily writing practice and caring for my altar. As I write this I can feel a settling in my body of gentle slowness…Which feels even better now I have finished this newsletter!

***The Addiction Diamond is a psychodramatic technique which I have adapted with gratitude from the book ‘One-to-One Psychodrama Psychotherapy: Applications and Technique’ edited by Anna Chesner. The chapter on Working with Addictions is also by Anna Chesner (Routledge 2019)

Where on Earth (or beyond) does creativity come from? September 2022 newsletter

Play School just finished and now Teletubbies has begun on the TV. I notice that 3 year old Aiva has abandoned the television (and her Grandma) to attempt to stuff as many soft toys as possible into her doll’s house. This got me thinking about creativity and innovation. Where on earth (or beyond) does that come from?

I know many innovators and creators and sometimes identify as one myself. I also notice now that Teletubbies speak no discernible language. What’s that about?

In any case, I attribute my creativity to my natal moon – I was born on a Day 3 Moon, which is reputed to be the most creative day of the Lunar cycle. A few days after New Moon (Day 1), it is a very potent day for going within and bringing forth juicy newness. 

And now the Teletubbies are jumping down a big hole and managing to discernably say Bye Bye. 

I guess this is topical for me (creativity, not Teletubbies) coming home from Ireland and wondering/dreaming into what I will do next?…Life wise and Callings wise. It’s Eostar soon (Spring Equinox here in the southern hemisphere) which is also a time of the birth of the new.

So there’s a few things coming that I am excited about – and more next year. Take a look at events and happenings below.

Now we have moved on to something called Moonbaby (great name) and Aiva is hungry and has decided she wants Grandma’s eggs for lunch.

Until next time…many blessings for the coming of Spring/Autumn and all things creative.

For the rebels and the Misfits August 2022 Newsletter

“For the rebels and the misfits, the black sheep and the outsiders.
For the refugees, the orphans, the scapegoats, and the weirdos.
For the uprooted, the abandoned, the shunned and invisible ones.

May you recognize with increasing vividness that you know what you know.
May you give up your allegiances to self-doubt, meekness, and hesitation.
May you be willing to be unlikeable, and in the process be utterly loved.
May you be impervious to the wrongful projections of others, and may you deliver your disagreements with precision and grace.
May you see, with the consummate clarity of nature moving through you, that your voice is not only necessary, but desperately needed to sing us out of this middle.
May you feel shored up, supported, entwined, and reassured as you offer yourself and your gifts to the world.
May you know for certain that even as you stand by yourself, you are not alone.” 

‘Belonging. Remembering Ourselves Home’ by Toko-pa Turner. 

Counselling and Psychotherapy