Reflections on the Conference
24 -26 September 2021
At Tobias School of Art and Therapy

All Real Living is Meeting

Imagine stepping out of a dense wood into a wide open clearing There is space and light and in this space we meet each other. We come together from various pathways to gather the different strands of our work, our intentions, our questions. We share and listen and through this create new work, open new possibilities and perspectives.

This year’s Annual conference was carefully prepared to engage with the intimate potential of face-to-face encounters that most of us have been unable to experience and enjoy for the past 2 years at the same time endeavouring to open the circle of participants to those therapists who were not members of the association as well as members. In fact, one of the main gestures of this gathering was to generate a meeting and sharing amongst this wider circle with our core members.

We are aware and regret that not everyone was able to participate due to individual vulnerabilities and having therefore had to shield. The AATA however, will continue to provide online offers. For this reason, Elisabeth Körber, the secretary of the association, came on the opening day of the conference where she gave an introduction to the work of the AATA, to present the rich online offers that the association had developed and to inspire participants to become active as well, to encourage networking and thus to make the work accessible to all members.

In preparation for this conference, we had taken the theme of the tree, as a way to imagine ourselves into our content of coming together and sharing of what motivates, challenges and inspires us in our work with clients. The tree became an image of our biography as therapists and the clearing in the forest our picture of coming together and finding our common ground.

The evening presentation on Friday, introducing the life and work of Martin Buber by Diogenes Mock. This was well received and set the tone for the reflective and authentic mood of our meetings and work on Saturday and Sunday.

Kelly Williams our Eurythmy facilitator, not only got us moving together, each morning but also guided us to explore and connect with each other in a form that became a poignant guiding “star” for the rest of the day.

Our artistic work in small groups on Saturday followed a journey beginning with the image of our individual experience, as described above in the form of a tree. Next, we shared from our work with clients and finally connecting and extending our individual ‘Tree’ pieces into a group image.

The implicit narrative thread of the day was then taken up skilfully by Olivia Olsen into a spoken weft and fabric interlinking the story of Iron John with elements of the life of Rainer Maria Rilke. Olivia’s presence connected with the essence of the conference.

Our artistic work on Sunday was an invitation to connect with our personal experience of the processes in the conference and also looking ahead. This was followed by the closing group meeting where each participant found room to express their own story of the experience. On the basis of the close working in small groups we were then in the end able to listen and hear much more from each other.

Participant Feedback

Dear Dio and John,

Thank you for a wonderful AATA conference this year that left me feeling nourished and empowered. Yes, it would be great to continue the conversations and initiatives that were inspired.

Personally, I noticed a change from the people I was naturally constellated with in Activity 1, 2, 3. This too indicated 'the space in between' of what is transforming in relationship, at Activity 2. I'm now using the process with my clients to much success, including Story.

I observed a real need for group Eurhythmy, both in myself and from the look on the faces of others working in small and large circles. So more of this would be most welcome.

Nisha Halai, Therapeutic Arts Counsellor, MBACP

The three days were blessed by beautiful weather in the dynamic spaces and grounds of Tobias, thoughtfully put together and met by the team around Maria Albiez, Art Therapist, HCPC, Supervisor and longstanding tutor at Tobias School of Art and Therapy who had prepared so many conferences in so many previous years thus enabling such wonderful warm and intimate exchange.

Written by:

Diogenes Mock

Integrative Psychotherapist, MUKCP, AATA on behalf of the preparation group​

John Playfoot

Art Therapist, HCPC, Supervisor, AATA​

Susanne Koszyk

Therapeutic Arts Counsellor, MBACP, AATA​

Photos by:

Sisi Burn

Transpersonal Arts Counsellor, MCGI, BACP, AATA​

Speakers and Facilitators

Kelly Williams

Kelly Williams is a Eurythmy teacher who works regularly with children and adults in schools and kindergartens, teacher trainings and adult courses in the UK and China. She started her artistic life in song and dance as a teenager and found her way to eurythmy through Waldorf education as a parent.

The capacity of the body to express is a constant source of interest and joy in her work. She works artistically with Peredur Eurythmy and is currently studying for an MA in pedagogical eurythmy, as well as studying contemporary dance and Feldenkrais lessons.

Diogenes Mock

Diogenes Mock is an Integrative Psychotherapist with roots in Anthroposophy and Gestalt therapy and incorporates creative and artistic strategies. Contemporary issues in the light of inspirational thinkers such as Steiner and Buber, provide constant reference points for continuing enquiry.

Olivia Olsen

Olivia Olsen comes to storytelling from a movement and theatre background. First solo productions were The Syringa Tree, a one actor play with 22 characters and Alan Bennett’s Bed Among the Lentils.

She toured the epic of Parzival, and Penelope -The Odyssey through her Eyes. She recently acted in Stray Dogs a play she wrote at Park Theatre London, nominated for an Obbie award, Most Promising New Playwright.