Five Things Drama Therapists Might Not Know About Being Partnered to a Drama Therapist

17 Oct

As Mark Stone, I am the husband of Abigail Stone, drama therapist extraordinaire. I don’t pretend to speak for everyone who is partnered to a drama therapist. With three years of experience, thought, I think I’ve probably got a few things to share.
            Let’s read.
 
One: We’re Pretty Good At This, Too
 
            I don’t know how to say this without potentially belittling all the hard work and education you’ve gone through, but chances are pretty good that your partner has picked up a lot of what you do. I am eternally astounded – and eternally astounding Abby – with the drama therapy stuff I know, whether I’m talking up Developmental Transformations to people I meet or spotting signs of trauma in my middle school students.
            What this really means is don’t be afraid to talk to us about your work, at least, as much as you’re allowed to. Chances are, what you do is part of what we love about you. Best of all, we understand a lot of your jargon, and might even be curious to learn more.
 
Two: Ritual Romance
 
            Man, this is probably the best part of being with a drama therapist.
            Romance thrives on rituals. From little things like our innumerable in-jokes that always seem to occur at proscribed junctures (I’m sure you’ve got them, too) to bigger things, like rituals for dispelling tension, clearing away the past, and separating home from work, rituals can be really important in making a relationship work.
            I practically guarantee it that we love it when you bring a sense of the ritual and the sacred to our relationship. It makes love so much more fun, and provides us with tools that most people have never even heard of.
 
Three: We Hate It When You Do That
 
            No, I’m not talking about that thing you do with your teeth when you’re nervous, or your habit of leaving your socks draped all over the furniture (no, wait, that’s my habit). What I’m talking about is the dark side of being partnered to a therapist.  When you’re at your worst and we’re at our worst (funny how it seems to happen at the same time, isn’t it?), you’re probably just better at it. You know how to remind us of all our failings and invalidate our feelings with all sorts of awkward truths about our baggage while expertly deflecting our attempts to do the same thing to you.
            In other words? Your therapy training has probably left you really good at being really bad. Quit it.
 
Four: We Love It When You Do That
 
            On the other hand, as a therapist you are really good at solving problems. You know how to cut through the pedestrian BS and find out what people really want and really need. You’re good at shifting contexts and building alliances, making teams out of troubled families, divided couples, and, of course, yourself and your individual clients.
            We love it when you bring those skills to our relationship, because they work. We like never having to be alone when we’re facing the tough stuff in life, because you know how to make us feel like you’ve got our backs. We like having happier and more harmonious relationships because you’re good at helping us cooperate to find solutions.
 
Five: Play!
 
            In typical blogger fashion, I have saved the best – or at least most striking – for last.
            Drama therapists are good at playing. Entire branches of drama and expressive arts therapies are dedicated to play. You guys know how to have fun, turning the mundane into the extraordinary and disasters into adventures. Chances are, if we’re with you, it’s because we enjoy it. We long for a sense of fun and adventure, and you are happy to provide it.
            Don’t hesitate to share your exciting forms of therapeutic play. Playback Theatre, for example, makes for a great date night (and, as it turned out in our case, pre-wedding event). Masking can be a great way to bond, and when you’re done you have your Halloween costumes ready to go. We love you, we love your work, and we want to have fun.
            So keep on playing with us and we’ll keep on playing with you for a good, long time.
 
Bio: Mark L. S. Stone is an Oakland middle school teacher, a writer, and an enormous nerd. If you want to take a walk on the geek side, check out his science fiction, fantasy, roleplaying, and writing blog at the Burning Zeppelin Experience, which you can find at burningzeppelinexperience.blogspot.com <http://burningzeppelinexperience.blogspot.com> . He has been partnered to therapist Abigail Stone for seven years and married for a little over a year.

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