Mary Smail Psychotherapist SW2




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                                                     

Discovering the Self through Drama and Movement – The Sesame Approach, Jessica Kingsley Press            1996

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   




The Story Chalice, Sesame Institute Journal, Sesame Institute Journal                                                           October 2004

Soul, Sesame Institute Journal, Sesame Institute Journal                                                                                October 2002

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

Downloading Soul, Teaching paper                                                                                                                      April 2014

Something about Soul and Dying,      Wales                                                                                                    October 2016

The Imaginary and Untold Stories in Psychotherapy, Psychotherapy Excellence Video series                         February 2017

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




Ireland, Ongoing trainings in the Sesame Approach to Drama & Movement therapy                                                                                                                                       2001 to 2016

Sweden The Myth of Er, European Psychosynthesis Conference,                                                                               2009

Sydney, AU, Soul 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, Play, Perform, Learn, Grow. Anatolia College, Thessaloniki                                                                        2018

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Updated 04 may 2018C

Mary Smail

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

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

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

wondering about what happens when a Soul dies

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

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

if you are asked to "cheer up" when you feel down

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

then I am ready to meet you to see if we can work together to tell your story as you would like it to be.


I will provide a safe room and confidential time for you to bring what ever issue you would like to explore. New opportunities usually come to us through what seems most difficult. 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.  In their book, The Book of Forgiving, Mpho and Desmond Tutu talk about people needing to tell their story over and over again until it can be understood sufficiently to articulate what has held inside, locked away.   If we can then forgive  people who have hurt us, we move out victim role and are no longer defined by what has hurt or frightened us. For more on this see    Or... come to Soulworks and talk!

The work can be focused and short term or it may need a longer on-going timescale.  We will work with whatever you bring. The work of Carl Jung, James Hillman,  Marian Billy Lindkvist and Richard Schwartz are the greatest inspirers of the way I work. 

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. 

I also 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 each 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


I am registered to practice with the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapists and with the Health and Care Professions Councils and am answerable to both these bodies, regularly reviewing my practice to ensure good practice.

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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