Xavier Fontenille

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he/him
HCPC Registered Dramatherapist
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

London, Greater London, N17
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

About me

I have been a dramatherapist for ten years and have a private practice in North London working with adults.

Dramatherapy is a form of psychotherapy which combines talking with a wide variety of creative exploration and is accessible to anyone. You do not need any skills or experience of acting or theatre to access this way of working.

In your dramatherapy session, you will find new ways to think about situations in your life, by finding stories, images, and other metaphors, which can give you a new perspective (see the photos of some of my resources).  You will have as much time as you need to talk and reflect directly about what is going on.  Sharing concerns in this way with someone who you trust and is on your side, will bring relief and leave you feeling less alone with the issue.  The creative elements of dramatherapy will also help you to move on from stuck positions of depression or rigid habits, by finding or making images which offer new choices.  This way of working particularly suits anyone who finds it difficult to talk directly about personal material. It can also be ideal for individuals who are already drawn to expressing themselves in a creative way.

I use mindfulness techniques to bring attention to the present moment, so that you will become more confident at recognising and managing your feelings.  The more we try and push feelings away, the more power they have over us.  In sessions, you will be able to talk about emotions, and also explore them in creative ways, such as choosing an image, or thinking of a character from a favourite film, that represents that feeling.  This will help you become more confident at managing your emotions, and you will be able to let feelings come and go without them holding you back from your life aims.  Creating a new relationship with anxiety in this way will loosen it’s power over you, so that it no longer becomes such a ‘problem’.  Mindfulness techniques are also an important element of the way dramatherapy approaches trauma.  The combination of talking about difficult memories, as well as creative elements and staying with the here-and-now physical experience, helps individuals to move on from what has happened in the past.

I have extensive mental health experience in the NHS, where working in multi-disciplinary teams has made me a flexible and resourceful practitioner.

Throughout the last ten years I have continuously worked with autistic and neurodiverse clients.  I am passionate about supporting neurodiverse individuals, and have honed my knowledge and skills to make therapy accessible and meaningful for them.  Sessions with me provide clarity, structure, acknowledge sensory needs, and that every individual experiences their neurodiversity in a unique way.  This helps me form trusting therapeutic relationships with these individuals to help them build confidence in their identity and move closer to their life goals.  

Training, qualifications & experience

Since completing my Masters's degree in Dramatherapy in 2013, I have worked with adults, children and young people. Clients do not need any experience of or skill in acting to access dramatherapy. I offer an approach which goes at the pace of the individual or group and offers creative approaches if and when the client is ready. Following my training, professional work in the NHS, schools and charity sector has given me a broad range of skills and experience. In 2017, I was invited to be a guest lecturer in Dramatherapy at Roehampton University.

Further Training

  • Autism and Intensive Interaction; Phoebe Caldwell
  • Responding to mental illness in boys and young men; Royal Free NHS Trust
  • Self Harm Training; Virtual College
  • General Certificate in Online Therapy; Academy for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Developmental Trauma for Professionals: Beacon House
  • Sherborne Developmental Movement level 1 and 2; Sherborne Association UK
  • ADHD Awareness Training for Professionals: Centre for ADHD and Autism Support

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited

Registered / Accredited

Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.

HCPC
Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC are an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 16 professions.

They keep a register of health professionals who meet their standards, and they take action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. They were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions Order 2001.

Registration means that a health professional meets national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.

Photos & videos

Fees

£65.00 per session

Additional information

To get in touch, please send me an email with your phone number, indicating when is a good time for us to have an initial conversation. We can then talk through what you might be looking for, and arrange a time to meet.

When I work

I offer sessions during the daytime and evening.  Please get in touch to have an initial phone conversation and check availability

Further information

What is Dramatherapy?

‘Dramatherapy is a form of Psychotherapy. Dramatherapists are both clinicians and artists that draw on their knowledge of theatre and therapy to use as a medium for psychological therapy that may include drama, story-making, music, movement, and art; to work with any issue that has presented itself.

Clients are able to explore a wide variety of different issues and needs from autism and dementia to physical/sexual abuse and mental illness in an indirect way leading to psychological, emotional and social changes.’

(British Association of Dramatherapists)

What happens in a 1:1 dramatherapy session?

This will depend on the individual and the issues which are being addressed. There is always time for the client to talk directly about immediate or historic concerns. Sometimes this conversation might take the whole session. Often, however, I will make a suggestion of a creative way to work with what is being presented. We might together find a story, film, song or image (resource) which is connected with the presenting issue. Resources like this can offer new insights, connect with buried feelings, or help us remember our own strengths. We may just talk about this resource in the session, or experiment with some simple drawing or creative writing. I may also offer some simple mindfulness techniques to help with emotional regulation and awareness.

Do I have to do acting or role-play in a dramatherapy session?

No! Clients are not expected to perform or act out scenes. However, sometimes I might suggest some very simple movement exercise or short role-play if I feel the individual is comfortable with this and could benefit. This is always optional and only offered as a gentle suggestion. If any kind of role-play work is used, I would follow this with some grounding exercises to make sure that the client leaves the character in the room and comes fully back to themselves.

How will dramatherapy help me?

As your therapist, I will be here to listen, make supportive reflections and be an ally working alongside you. Having someone to talk to who is not a friend or relative gives a freedom to explore thoughts, feelings and experiences without being judged, or threatening a close relationship.

Sometimes we can get stuck in ways of thinking about our lives, and go round in circles, talking repeatedly about the same issues. By using creative work, finding metaphors which have meaning for us can shift this stuck position and open new doors. Metaphor is simply a figure of speech which expresses a connection between two things which are different. For example, if I’m feeling trapped and in my life, I might think about a prisoner in a story as a metaphor for how I’m feeling. If I need courage in a certain situation, I could think of a heroic character who has been brave in a story, as a metaphor for the qualities I would like to connect with. When struggling with anger, I might relate to a villain or monster in a film as a metaphor to help express that in a healthy and liberating way.  

This way of working can help us to feel less alone with our experience and to also see it in a bigger context where there are more possibilities. 

What I offer

1:1 therapy with adults

Clients can see me for weekly therapy sessions at my private practise in North East London N17. Following a brief discussion on the phone, I would then invite you to attend one or two assessment sessions, where you can meet me and see if this way of working suits you. We would then make a plan together of how we will work, and what you would like to focus on in the work. Client choice and agency are always at the heart of how I work with all individuals. You may want a brief intervention of about 6 weeks to help process a recent event or decide on long term piece of work to explore issues in more depth. I will offer periodic reviews to check that the therapy is making sense and working for you.

(link to ‘About Dramatherapy’)

Online therapy

With careful discussion and preparation, I offer online therapy sessions using video calls live chat or telephone calls. In 2020 I completed the eight credit General Certificate in Line Therapy course (Academy for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy). This way of working in dramatherapy may suit you for many reasons such as issues with mobility, self-isolating, location, work commitments, or personal preference. The option to work fully or partially online opens up the possibility of weekly therapy to individuals who might otherwise not be able to access this valuable resource for healing and growth. You would need to have a private space in your home where you will not be disturbed and give yourself time after the session to rest and readjust before continuing with work or family commitments.

London, Greater London, N17

Type of session

In person
Online
Phone

Types of client

Young people (13-17)
Adults (25-64)
Groups

Key details

DBS check

In England and Wales, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, formerly known as CRB) carry out criminal records checks for individuals working with vulnerable groups, such as children. To find out more, visit gov.uk , or contact this professional directly

The room is on the ground floor. There is a small step at the front door but otherwise level access to the therapy room.

Online platforms

Google Meet
Zoom

Social

Xavier Fontenille
Xavier Fontenille