Article By: Ditty Dokter, Lisa Lea-Weston and Tara Thornewood
This article uses autoethnographic research vignettes from the authors’ experience to illustrate questions around gradations of fitness to practise in relation to chronic illness (cancer) and resulting Dis/ability or gradations of fitness to practise. How do we know when we are not waving but drowning? We will look at how awareness of social justice issues can inform the way these questions are worked with. This involves an awareness of dramatherapy as a profession and the institutional contexts that shape our profession; balancing the need to accept personal limitations with the need to challenge institutional and systemic injustices. In our personal/professional lives we have experience of the impact of chronic illness (breast cancer) and disability before, during and post training. Trauma experienced in childhood can be a rationale for training as arts therapists. If therapists become ill or experience trauma while practising, in the form of vicarious traumatisation, triggering of early trauma or current personal life trauma: how do we assess whether we are fit to practise? The article aims to address how to obtain advice and support and the longer term impact of gradations to practice. Do we find ourselves in pursuit of self-care practising more defensively, in greater depth, with different tipping points when mortality and vulnerability are highlighted through illness and Dis/ability?