The world of dramatherapy is not something I’ve ever found myself delving into, be it as a reader or a patient myself. When I heard of ‘Before You Let the Sun In (and other dramatherapeutic stories)’ I was automatically itrigued. Would it be fiction? A biography? How was I going to be gripped into a world of therapy when my own course of therapy was something I do not feel greatly attached to?
When I got home to find the book waiting for me, I was excited to jump in.
Upon reading the preface stating the many forms of dramatherapy, I admit, a part of me felt unwanted dread; Although I thought I’d never experienced drama-therapy, first hand or via an external source, it made me think; When I was 12, I remember sitting in the tiny counselling room after kicking and screaming about how I didn’t want to go, how I hated every aspect of therapy, and how I felt it was making my (then, slightly at bay) mental health worse. The one memory I will always have of the sessions was feeling totally patronised. I was asked to pick a toy and role-play interaction with the therapist in a sand box. I felt patronised. She didn’t listen. She treated me like a child. Automatically, after thinking back to this I feared the mere concept of dramatherapy. I also reflected back to GCSE drama when we used it as a tool for characterisation. Dramatherapy delved deep into ach of our lives, our individual troubled souls, s we could accurately understand the character we were portraying. All I remember of the lesson was tears; a misery like no other plunged deep into the soul and wanting to leave when we’d barely started.. however I do remember thinking,and still think now, ‘if I could use this in therapy rather than for an exam, maybe it’d be what I needed to bring out the deep rooted, hidden agony behind all my issues.
On to the book, I began reading the intimate tales between the therapist and client. I was snatched up by the pages more and more every word, becoming deeper and deeper immersed with every page. I found myself identifying with the emotions of the patients, even if our stories were very different. I found myself hooked on the therapist and therapy style, wanting to involve myself, my own story… though I already felt involved.
I greatly appreciate the style of writing used in this collection of short stories. I find bonding with a therapist one of the hardest tasks there is, but I somehow felt bonded with the therapist. A Therapist in a book, how did I identify with her? Somehow, within Laura’s story the mention of studies drew me in- I’ve always felt a greater bond with young doctors. I’ve always felt a greater bond with female doctors. The female presence is something I am much more comfortable with as a growing woman (who has had issues with their mother in the past).
Something I noticed about the book is the way it urges you to read on. You’ve finished one of the short stories can feel a good enough balance of closure and curiosity, but you want to read more. You want to bond with the other patients and identify with the metaphors you find within the words. I couldn’t put the boo down, yet I did feel content to.
Splitting the book into ten short stories meant at the end of a chapter, I felt content enough to put it down and go about my working day, or go to sleep, but had the knowledge warm in your heart that you could pick up a new story happily in the morning without a grand fear of missing out you may feel in something more directly linear. I also found you still got the sense of continuity with the ever unravelling style and emotions portrayed by the therapist.
Every single chapter and client hooked me in it’s own way; whether you felt a strong loving inclination to the person or a severe dislike, you never want to stop hearing their thoughts, understanding their process, and experiencing any outcomes or conclusions of the process.
I loved every minute of the book, and already have an urge to re-read it. I highly recommend picking this book up (published by Aeon), regardless of the style you prefer to read. The book is so universal with socio-politics and classical literature links, yet feeling so modern and raw.
The book retails at £14.99 and is worth every penny and more.
I will leave it up to you to determine character love and connections, but they will present themselves so strongly you’ll be greatly surprised..
I am quite confident in saying this is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.