Mary Smail Psychotherapist SW2

Publications & Teaching



Dramatherapy with Myth and Fairytale – the Golden Stories of Sesame

Jenny Pearson, Mary Smail and Pat Watts, Jessica Kingsley Pubs                                                              2013




Moving through a block in psychotherapy                                                                                             1996

Discovering the Self through Drama and Movement – The Sesame Approach,  Jessica Kingsley Press


Sharing the Space Inside - One to one work with people with Learning Difficulties                              1996

Discovering the Self through Drama and Movement – The Sesame Approach, Jessica Kingsley Press   


Open Sesame and the soul cave, Routledge International Handbook for Dramatherapy                            2016


Maps for Soul Making - Story Enactment in Psychotherapy, Transformation in Troubled Times,                                Transpersonal Press                                                                                                                              2018   




Soul, Sesame Journal                                                                                                                                  Spring, 2002

The Story Chalice,  Sesame Journal                                                                                                           October 2004

Resounding Myth - Voice work in traditional story, Sesame Journal                                                           October 2005

Conditions of a Soul Pedagogy, Sesame Institute Journal,                                                                            November 2010

Downloading Soul, Teaching paper                                                                                                               April 2014

The Making of the Sesame Psyche and Soma course, Sesame Journal                                                         Autumn 2010

Soul in a Baseball Hat - Meeting James Hillman. The Psychotherapist                                                        Summer 2013

Uneasy in Exile - the forest of Chemo Ther                                                                                                September 2014

Something About Soul. The Guild of Pastoral Psychology, London, UK                                                           November 2017

Video Story enactment in Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Excellence                                                                                                     2017




Ireland, Ongoing trainings in the Sesame Approach to Drama & Mvt Therapy                                                    2001 to 2016

Sweden, The Myth of Er, European Psychosynthesis Conference,                                                                               2009

AustraliaSoul Play and the Sesame Approach, Psychotherapy Network Int Conf,                                                     2011

Korea, Soul Play, Korean Dance Movement Therapy Association                                                                                2015

Germany, Stories and Soul, Institut für Theatertherapie                                                                                           2016

Greece, Playing with Soul Grace, Play, Perform, Learn, Grow. Anatolia College, Thessaloniki, Greece                       2018

Greece,   Workshop with Robert Romanyshyn. Play, Perform, Learn, Grow.  Anatolia College. Thessaloniki, Greece                                2019





God and the Afterlife – God in the Pub meeting, Wimbledon

The Spirituality of Dying – Handy hints for walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death – Retreat Weekend, Wimbledon

The Last Things. Death, Dying and the Life to Come, Advent Retreat

Something About Soul – Death, Grief and Peripheral Seeing – Death Conference, Wales

When Death Stops By – Korkut and Uncertainty – St Christopher’s Hospice, London

Loss and Grief – Re-Vision Counselling Students

The Soul and Death – Wales 2015 with Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership

Bereavement and Grace Initiations, Dr Banardos, Wales

The Death Edge and Soul Midwifery– Felicity Warne and the Soul Midwives.   British Association of Dramatherapists 2017

Death and the Soul, Keynote. Mental Health Day conference, Wales,  

The Village of Grief (Axel Schwaigert) and the Oracle Tree. British Association of Dramatherapists, 2019





Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, UK - MA Drama & Movement Therapy (Sesame)                                                                                                                                                       1992 - 2015

Clinical Placement Supervisor

Group Clinical Preparation Tutor (sesame approach)

Group Clinical Supervisor

Myths and Fairytale Enactment Tutor

Viva Panelist

Central Sesame/Liason Group


Sesame Institute UK and International

3 annual Introductory Trainings to Drama & Movement Therapy                                                                    1994 - 2015

Sesame Ireland 

 Annual training events in the Sesame Approach - Cork, Dublin,                                                                    1996 to 2015

Sesame Approach Foundation at Cork Institute of Technology planning team

Sesame Wales                                                                                                              

 Ongoing annual Sesame Insitute CPD Workshops                                                                                          1999 to 2015

Keynote, Dramatherapy Wales first conference



Psyche and Soma - Soul making through Sesame - Course founder and convenor of one year CPD for registered professionals

Cowbridge, Wales                                                                                                                                                    2008

Vauxhall, London                                                                                                                                                     2010

Clapham, London                                                                                                                                                     2012

Clapham, London                                                                                                                                                     2014

Newport, Wales                                                                                                                                                       2018

London                                                                                                                                                                    2020

Wales                                                                                                                                                                                                               2021


RE-VISION COUNSELLING & PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH SOUL IN MIND                                        2016 - ongoing


Stories of Soul-Making, Stage 4 Psychotherapy Trainees

Loss and Bereavement. Stage 3 Counselling Trainees






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Updated 04 may 2018C

Mary Smail

Dramatherapy, Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems Approach, Assertion/Self Esteem training, Spiritual Be-friending.


 Covoid 19 low fee, no fee bereavement accompanying - two places available. 


If you feel ...


depressed or struggling with low self-worth

up against a brick wall

held back by inner critic attacks

conflicted by different parts of yourself which seem opposed

concerned about relationships

 asked to "cheer up" when you feel down

resentful of someone and unsure how to forgive

wondering about sexual orientation

wanting to be more creative

concerned about dyslexia or dyspraxia issues

wanting to think through a professional/work situation

wishing to explore spirituality or consider God-questions

hurt through misunderstanding in a  church situation

without someone who really  matters

in a grief or bereavement process

facing a diagnosis

wondering about what happens when a soul dies

dealing with areas of dying (your own or someone who you care about)

meeting the ageing process of your parents or of a loved elder

if you want to work more cognitively with ideas around confidence, self-esteem and assertion

needing clinical supervision of your practice

wanting a space to listen to your soul


then I am ready to meet you to see if we can work together to explore your story and the meaning it has for your future life.  


I will provide a safe room and confidential time for you to bring whatever issue you would like to explore. New opportunities usually come to us through what seems most challenging. The gift is to trust that there is more than we see - the Soul story may not yet have had any space to be heard and recognised. 


I am trained and registered both in Psychotherapy (talk therapy) and as a Creative Arts Therapist, (Sesame Dramatherapy).  This means I can offer the option to talk or to use a more imaginative, symbolic approach which some people prefer. The work can be focused and short term, or it may need a longer on-going timescale.  

I  draw heavily on the Inter Family Systems and Self led therapy approach, having completing the on-line IFS Inner Circle training. IFS is an innovative approach which enables the client to learn how to listen to and befriend differing inner parts and attitudes as if they are characters, each with a valid perspective.   People come to understand their inner critic, the shamed or frightened child, the addict, the procrastinator, the melancholic, the ambitious in a new way.  When these are understood in their own right they can be viewed with compassion and curiosity and integrated so that there is unity inside, and less of the pulling in different ways which all humans experience.  All parts are welcome in this way of working.    

 As I am an Assertion Trainer it may be that we work to build up your self-esteem and confidence, giving you everyday skills to cope with relationship, work and life in general.  This can be done as a course in itself.  We work with:

  • What assertive behaviour is
  • The Low Self Esteem/ High Self Esteem cycle and how it shows in the body
  • Self Esteem Rights
  • Where the Inner Critic comes from and how to ask it to take a rest
  • What's my life like and what roles I play?
  • How to use my anger
  • Saying No
  • Preparing for change and the self-nurturing kit
  • Making conversation


I am also presently training in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) which uses bi-lateral stimulation to coordinate the implicit and explicit hemispheres of the brain together and is highly effective with trauma.

My practice also specialises in working with what I call “The Deathlands” This means I am prepared to accompany people through the physical and spiritual issues involved when meeting Diagnosis, Bereavement, the Dying Process and the notion of the Afterlife – what does or does not happen next.


SOUL-WORKS SESSIONS - meeting outside the box

A Soul-Works session offers an alternative space to either supervision or therapy and is something different. It is mainly geared towards experienced therapists or health professionals who have been through a previous therapeutic process and are now looking for something else.  This way of working is less defined than therapy and recognises unexpected new possibilities which emerge, unique to the person and the situation they bring.  The Soul-Works session sets a space where the relationship and work is more fluid.

Soul-Works is an agreed and regulated meeting where the focus is on any issue the person attending brings. There may or may not be a goal or an outcome.   People can bring aspects of their professional life which do not belong in supervision or something from their personal experience that allows work and individual circumstance to come together. People come because they want a different kind of accompanying and set their own agenda that may vary from session to session.

 Similar to therapy, the work is confidential, but the boundary is lighter. It differs for each person and is discussed, co-worked and agreed at the beginning of the work.    I may already know you or have worked with you before, and after sessions are over, we may return to our previous form of relationship.     The relationship is mutual and co-participatory and occasionally I can be available for “outside the room” accompanying.  I am open to negotiate how we can practically respond to what you need from our work. 

 A Soul-Works session lasts typically 50 minutes. Sessions can be on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. 



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What is Soul?


"It is impossible to define what soul is.  Definition is an intellectual enterprise. 

Anyway, soul prefers to imagine".

Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul.

Psychotherapy, psychoanalysis or psychosomatic are off-putting ideas to many people because in western culture attending therapy supposes something is unwell or inferior.  However, the psych(e) part of these terms literally means breath, or soul.  If we rewrite them as Soul-therapy, Soul-analysis, Soul-somatic perhaps a different perspective emerges.

The church is a place where the soul is recognised, but the emphasis within a Christian context suspects the soul, seeing it as sinful and in need of "being saved".  At SOULWORKS, soul is not understood as being guilty or disadvantaged, rather it is seen as being an invisible conveyor of what matters uniquely to each person. Rather than coming up with goals to fix things back to the old running order, a soulful take is about finding out how life problems may actually open a way to making fresh choices based on what matters most to the deeper you.

"Listen closely, for the soul often speaks in a whisper, easily drowned out in the business of daily life".  

Jill Mellick

Soul speaks through dreams, images, hunches and intuitions often breaking through into consciousness when we are at our lowest ebb.  The work in therapy is to learn to trust this voice and the new life options it brings.  Soul is counter cultural – what we hear will probably challenge anything which is rigid and which blocks our spontaneity and takes creativity away.

"There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen!"   Rumi

As Rumi the poet says, soul does not use words but prefers imagination, and metaphors to theory, chapter and verse. A first meeting with our soul may well come through an image.  I asked some people how they would recognise their soul and they said:

A puddle,

an eagle,

a glowing coal,

a shape shifter,

a black hole,

a robin,

  a shadow, 

God in me,


a colour waft deep within, the countryside and nature, 

a sense of presence, a sense of depth, presence that needs no words,

Soul-mate friendship,

true contact, meaning,

lightness and fun,

deep profundity,

something guiding me.


The soul wants imaginative responses that move it, delight it, deepen it ... explanatory responses just put us back in to positivism and science – or worse into delusion... that makes us believe that we know.  

James Hillman Inter Views



Re-Vision's Soulful Approach to Therapeutic Work

New publication - September 2018

Edited by Chris Robertson and Sarah Van Gogh, with chapters by each of them plus Joan Crawford, Nicky Marshall, Ewa Robertson, Jo-Ann Roden and Mary Smail.  The book offers an integrative perspective that both gives a place to the troubles of the modern world and also develops a well-tuned craft to firstly attend to our painful wounds and ultimately transform their bitterness into the salt of wisdom