This experiential workshop turns a spotlight on the defense mechanisms, so necessary as adaptive strategies yet complicit in keeping a delusional system in place. While the defenses for each type can stunt emotional growth, their positive function should not be ignored. In this case, a little humor helps lend a light touch to a very serious matter. Through drama and movement we will animate the three functions involved: the defense mechanism, the idealization and the avoidance pattern. We’ll tout the benefits of each type’s defense mechanism as if it were bottled medicine, offering precautions if overused. Each of the three functions will have its say and will have the chance to negotiate a new relationship to the other functions. These inner dynamics lend themselves to dramatization. They are the stuff of universal comedy and tragedy. When animating a defense mechanism by embodying its movement and giving voice to it, the pattern comes alive. The usually unconscious process becomes accessible, recognizable.

Catherine Williams


2014 IEA Global Conference

San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA