ABOUT PRESENCE IN ACTION
in Action is an approach to group and individual work that focuses on
creating safe spaces where participants are invited to connect deeply
with themselves and others, release what is no longer serving them, and
in this, experience a deepening capacity to be Present and connected to
their essential selves. The work explores ‘Presence in Action’, teaching
one to be authentically alive and awake to oneself in every moment.
Working with the body is central to the work, and participants learn
tools to apply the work into every-day life. The approach integrates
therapy, meditation, movement, creativity, the practice of inquiry and
is a Drama and Movement Therapist (MA, UK), Family Constellations
Therapist (SA) and Play Therapist (PGDip, UK). She is registered with
the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Lesley’s therapeutic
work is with children, adolescents and adults, with a focus on childhood
bereavement, children facing challenging transitions, and with adults
in the development of capacity for Presence, Resilience and
Transformation, where her work integrates Creative Arts Therapy
techniques, Constellations, active meditation and Inquiry methods. Her
private practice is based both in Kenilworth and Cape Town city bowl,
where she works with individuals and focus groups.
her private work, Lesley’s commitment is to social and individual
healing for South Africans affected by trauma, loss and violence who
have limited access to therapy, and to this end has been a therapist,
performer, facilitator, supervisor, trainer and project developer in a
range of contexts in the NPO field. She has trained adults in the caring
professions in the arena of Child Development, Play and Self Care in
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lebanon and Brazil. She is currently the
Director of GroundSpring Playback Theatre Company in Cape Town and
Clinical Supervisor for Intern Drama Therapists at Drama for Life,
University of the Witwatersrand (SA).
GROUPS AND WORKSHOPS
A variety of short term focus groups and weekend workshops are offered from time to time:
Exploration of Essence Workshops
are designed to bring you into closer contact with your Essential
Nature, your Creativity and the Wisdom of your Body. Deeply inspired by
the work of A.H. Almaas and Faisal Muqaddam, as taught by Turiya
Hanover, these workshops assist in reconnecting you to your innate
nature and bring awareness to the defense layers built up over time in
order to survive. As humans, we have a strong instinct for fulfillment,
often a deep sense of something that is lost or lacking, and a longing
to return ‘home’. Essence Work gives us a map and tools to gently, step
by step, reconnect with our true Self, through awareness, compassion,
and inquiry. Essence Work was developed by two pioneers in
psycho-spiritual work, who discovered an ancient Sufi map of
consciousness which they married with modern psychology approaches. The
work describes a pathway to assist the retrieval of our connection to
various Essential states, including our true capacity for Will,
Strength, Love, Value, Compassion, Peace and Joy. Exploration of Essence
Workshops focus on an experiential introduction to aspects of the Work,
and connecting deeply to the experience of Essence through movement,
art and meditation. Gently unfolding, you will awaken your inherent
Essential nature, and so take a step further in your journey to waking
up to your full potential and expansion.
The Space to Play
is a practice in Presence, where you will learn tools for everyday
life. The sessions take the form of improvisation classes, usually over a
period of 8 weeks, where participants practice spontaneity, being in
the moment and being awake. The sessions support your capacity to say
YES to life and to let go of personal blocks. They give you an
opportunity to see your defences and strategies for coping when anxiety
and stress hit, magnified. Working through personal blocks in a playful
and non-judgmental space invigorates our innate creative potential and
enables healing. The work is an active meditation, with real-time,
embodied learning, which enables a better integration of the tools into
life. No previous experience of drama or improvisation is necessary!
Drama Therapy Groups for children, adolescents and adults, along a focused theme:
Grief groups offer a shared encounter with others also facing the loss
of a loved one. An 8 week guided creative process is gently held in
which we work with memory, honouring the life that has passed,
connecting to feelings, and support the transition into new ways of
– Groups for tweens and adolescents to explore healthy peer relating
– Antenatal classes for expectant Moms, to prepare psychologically for the journey ahead, connect to their changing bodies
MamaBaba Movement Meditation for
moms and their 8 week – 18 month old babies to have some quality,
intimate time together in a playful and nurturing environment, to
connect with other MamaBaba couples, to have fun and bring vitality to
the body in the rediscovery of oneself as a mother. No dance experience
Please email your interest in any of these workshops or groups.
“A beautiful blend of psychological
work and movement therapy bringing us closer to what Almaas calls true
nature or being. The workshop with Lesley was a profound experience of
digging up the dysfunctional patterns of personality and contacting the
realm of spirituality.”
Antoni Hoft, Personal Trainer
“A large part of who I am was
recovered; things I’d forgotten I had at my disposal were dusted off and
made beautiful and accessible for me to use. Coming out of this
workshop held by Lesley Palmer, I feel grounded and have quiet
confidence as to who Shaun Gabriel Smith really is.”
Shaun Gabriel Smith, Performer
Constellations Therapy offers a profound space for personal
transformation, by honouring and working with the Family System. The
process works towards enabling a clearing of the system and
a restoration of the natural order of love.
work allows us to receive gifts from our ancestors, while leaving
behind what is not ours to carry. The methodology is informed by the
systemic understanding that we are all part of a greater system, and
therein have the power to affect change that will resonate throughout
the whole system. Disentangling ourselves from inherited complexes will
support a greater freedom and being able to truly live one’s own
a workshop we will have the chance for a couple of people to
constellate around an issue they are currently facing. They will present
their issue to the facilitator who will guide the process and make
suggestions of what part of the client’s system to explore. Other group
members are chosen to stand as representatives of the client’s family
system and follow their impulses in support of bringing to light unknown
material from the field. Representatives may gain tremendously from the
experience themselves, enriching their insight into their own families.
Starting 11th November 2021
Based on the book “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne, Family Life Parent Groups help create a simpler, more balanced home life for you and your family.
About Family Life Parent Groups
Simplicity Parenting Family Life Parent
Groups bring together small groups of like-minded parents to explore
“the extraordinary power of less.”
As the pace of life accelerates, with too many choices and too little
time, children and parents alike feel the pressure. Parents feel
stressed out, overwhelmed, and worried. Children can become anxious,
have trouble with friends and school, and even be diagnosed with
But by incorporating the simple principles they learn in this class,
parents can begin to create the balanced, connected home life we all
want for ourselves and our children.
Parent Groups are led by a Certified Simplicity Parenting Group Leader
and are held in person when possible or virtually through interactive
In-person classes consist of three gatherings of approximately 2-1/2
hours each. Virtual classes typically consist of more gatherings of
Tuition for the classes is R1500 per person or R2250 per couple, plus a
materials fee, and pre-registration is required. (Participant Materials
are purchased directly from the Simplicity Parenting Institue. A couple
may share a single set of Participant Materials.)
If you’d like to be informed when the next class opens up, please fill
out the form below to add your name to our interest list. We’ll let you
know as soon as registration opens.
If you have any questions, please CLICK HERE to send us an email.
Otherwise, thank you for you interest, and we hope to see you in an upcoming class!
About Lesley Palmer
Palmer, Certified Simplicity Parenting Family Life Group Leader, is a
mother of two boys, a Creative Arts and Play Therapist (HPCSA
registered), Family Constellations Practitioner and Clinical Supervisor.
She has been in practice in Cape Town for 20 years. Her clinical work
with children has led her to joining the Simplicity Parenting movement
as a community response to protect children’s mental health and
About Simplicity Parenting
A manifesto for protecting the grace of
childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new
rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children, offering inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:
• Streamline your home environment.
• Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter-as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
• Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily
tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your
child is overwhelmed.
• Schedule a break in the schedule.
• Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
• Scale back on media and parental involvement.
• Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation.
And Parent Groups are the best way to bring the material to life in your family.
Next Course: 11th, 17th and 24th November
DRAMA AND PLAY THERAPY
ABOUT DRAMA THERAPY
Creative Arts Therapies are fast growing professions in South Africa.
Therapists are trained at Masters level and register with the Health
Professions Council of South Africa. Art, Drama, Music and Movement
Therapists are clinically informed to use their specific creative medium
to support the psychological and social wellbeing of individuals,
groups and communities. The Arts Therapies have consistently proven to
be effective in addressing individual difficulties as well as group
creative arts therapies are founded on the premise that words are
sometimes not enough to fully express the complexity of the human
experience. The main focus of these modalities is the non-verbal mode of
communication and the assumption that the creative process has
potential healing properties. The focus is on every human being’s innate
capacity for aliveness, health and well-being through movement, song,
music, story and the symbolic representation of the self through drama.
a Creative Arts Therapy session, internal challenges are expressed
creatively, and in this way can be safely processed and managed. The
arts provide a safe, non-verbal means for expression where the client
need not feel overwhelmed, and where a mind- body connection can be
facilitated. Furthermore, the approach focuses on strengthening the
healthy, creative aspect of the client. People of all abilities and ages
can benefit from Creative Arts Therapy.
Therapy is an embodied, active form of therapy that utilizes a range of
techniques to achieve therapeutic aims. Storytelling, role play,
improvisation, movement, body sculpting, play involving objects, art
work, sound making and ritual may all be utilized by the drama therapist
in their individual or group work.
Drama Therapy can be a useful intervention:
* when words are not enough (or not available)
trauma has been experienced (as body based approaches are an important
aspect of recovery to facilitate reconnection to the body and
* when there is an impasse in verbal therapy
* to develop self-esteem
* to discover play, spontaneity and Presence in the moment
* as support in transitions – using ritual and embodied processes to navigate change
* to increase role repertoire and rehearse a new way of being or relating
Drama Therapy works with the creative healthy aspect of the individual, building their strength, resourcefulness