Welcome to my blog. I will be sharing with you some stories, some vignettes, if you will, about relationships. How we get into them, how we survive them, how we nurture them. As a drama therapist, I love stories. I love how they can inspire us and teach us new ways to look at our lives and our problems. All part of our ability to Rehearse For Life.
Here then are some vignettes that I hope will amuse you, feed your imagination, and make you think about your own relationships. I welcome your comments and suggestions as we take this journey together.
“The writer, when he is also an artist, is someone who admits what others don’t dare reveal.” – Elia Kazan
“Expanding the circle of affection.” -Einstein My Godfather and namesake, the wonderful actor, Bradford Dillman (who I lovingly refer to as The Old Wrangler) and my father, Pete Bancroft, are now 86 years old. These two men have been close friends for 68 years. They have also been enormously important to me in my life. I would not be half the man (I think I am) without either one of them having guided me during my almost 60 years with them. As they, and their friends get older (and in some cases pass on), I felt it was important to get...read more
I adore my work at the VA (The Veterans Administration) and I love being in that community. Everyone is cordial and respectful to each other, part of the honor of having served. And yet, even though I did not serve this country as they did, they know I am serving them now, all these years later, with joy and respect and honor. I lovingly refer to my work with them as “Karaoke Therapy.” I listen to them, encourage them while helping them to find their voice as we use music to find our common core. One of the janitors greets me each morning...read more
One Child’s Technique for Dealing with Nightmares I loved the Flipper Song when I was a little boy. I never actually knew the words to the song, but I sang it a lot in the middle of the night as protection. Most of the time it worked. When I was about 6 or so, we lived in a part of Northern California that, around 1964, was a known habitat for Sasquatches. Bigfoot. There were sightings of the hairy monster near our town. There was actually filmed footage. There were rumors about what these creatures did to people. Were they friendly?...read more
One Therapist’s First Experience on Working with the Mentally Challenged I’ll tell you a funny story. I got “bamboozled”, many years ago, into working with my first group of mentally challenged patients at our local community outreach center. I am a Creative Arts Therapist who had worked in many environments around Southern California including Battered Women’s shelters, Children’s Hospitals, Prisons, Schools and a great deal of Drug & Alcohol Rehab, which is what I was doing when this story takes place. I was facilitating a...read more
DRAMA THERAPY IN A ONE ON ONE SESSION I had a sense of what was going on in him before he entered the office; anxious, ashamed, full of doubt and self loathing. We hadn’t seen each other in awhile, but had been working a long time together before this catch up appointment. I was lying down on the couch when he came in, leaving him the option of taking the “therapist’s chair.” Without getting up, I asked him if he would close the door, I wanted to jump right into the work and I had something...read more
Have you ever wondered what the effect of a smile has on people? Have you ever noticed what happens when you smile at a total stranger? My wife and I were down at the Hermosa Beach Fiesta over the weekend at a gigantic open air market in which we had set up a booth to sell her marvelous new shoe bags for women. There were thousands of people attending this event but we were just one little pink tent amongst a huge throng of hawkers, artisans, craftspeople and (very popular) food and drink venders. How to get along in such a bustling...read more
When I was five years old I was made to follow my daddy around acres of hedgerows, up and over levees, through cornfields and woodlands, an empty 4-10 shotgun in my little arms, a watchful eye on me at all times, ready to jump down my throat if at any moment I became tired and careless, pointing that weapon anywhere but up in the air or away from the other people in our group. That’s the way it was done. We were hunters. We were careful and we ate what we shot. Nothing went to waste. By the time I was eight, I was ready to take the NRA exam...read more
I woke up feeling drowsy and stiff and instantly felt Papa chipping away at me, a little at a time. I tried to focus in on what he was working on today. I hear him talking about negative space, revealing the beauty inside, so I keep waiting for him to dig deep enough to exclaim, “There it is: the heart!” Because I know it’s there. It’s inside me. I am a real boy. He just can’t see it yet. He keeps working on the outside. My eyes are shiny and blue. My fingers and knuckles, life sized and workable. All the joints...read more
I have on the wall in my therapy office an old African detergent can with a cruddy piece of stick coming out of the top strung with some found wire. Most folks consider it an odd art piece, but in actuality, it is a living life lesson for my musician clients. As a creative arts therapist who works with a lot of wonderful artists, I love the complaint (or desire) that some musicians share with me that they need the impressive new technology in order to do their work. They talk about the great new samplers and processors and synthesizers...read more
Dear Wonderful Readers, I thought for my first entry I would go back to my very earliest writings as a sensitive young teenager trying to put together his first “book.” I laughed as I pulled this out of my treasure trunk of memories, for I truly have not changed much at all in the 40 years since. I named it “NICE… and “HEAVY.” Herewith the preface and introduction. Warm regards, Bradford 2013 CARRYING ON THE TRADITION What I particularly love about this innocent little first journal was it’s attempt to carry on a tradition of...read more