The symbolism of deckchairs in the bandstand

Today at uni I shared my idea for the film shoot I’m preparing for this Saturday. Chris and Fran have very kindly agreed to act in the film. They are going to play a psychotherapist called Howard (Chris) and a client called Ali (Fran). I’m going to use a DSLR to shoot them sitting in deckchairs inside the bandstand on Brighton seafront.

Deckchairs symbolise the idea of psychotherapy as taking time out from ordinary life. This occurs on holiday too, which the deckchair usually symbolises. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing but, often, in reality they can be stressful with relationship dynamics getting in the way of the stress relief that holidays are supposed to allow.

Psychotherapy also involves relationship dynamics in the way the client transfers emotional drama from family relationships onto the therapist, and the therapist counter transfers. In a safe, boundaried space these transferences can be observed and talked about, leading to release from acting out the family dramas. The bandstand represents the boundaried space necessary for the relationship to do the work.

The bandstand is also a place where, traditionally, a band would play music. Each member would contribute to the whole, creating a sound that would be impossible without each other. There is a possibility that I will ask the actors to sing their parts.

The Characters

Howard is a patient and understanding psychotherapist with knowledge of many different techniques. His ultimate belief, in line with Jung, is that it is the ability to drop technique that allows the therapist to be present with the client. Technique may arise during a session but it does not lead or control the session. Howard is very present with his clients, noticing without judging, what is. When he feels an emotional pull to judge he takes the occurrence to his supervisor to unpick what is going on for him. He is loving and kind to himself as well as to others. Howard is married.

Ali (used to be known as Alice) is seeking psychotherapy to deal with the painful judgement she feels from most people; she doesn’t know whether the judgement is really coming from others or whether she is transferring her own judgement onto them. She was sexually abused as a child by her uncle and feels her mother knew what was going on; whether this knowledge was conscious or subsconscious, she doesn’t know. Her relationship with her mother is currently strained. Despite numerous efforts to deepen the relationship with her mother and create some kind of satisfying connection, Ali feels it is unlikely this will ever happen. She feels abandoned by her mother and swings between anger and hurt, and nonchalance. She is hoping psychotherapy will allow her to release the emotional pull of the judgements and to enter into a romantic relationship eventually (she feels unable to co-create a healthy functional romantic relationship at present).

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