This is a living document and is always being updated as and when the need arises. I am open to feedback and hearing what policies will make your creative space as safe and contained as possible.
I abide by AACE’s Code of Conduct. It also needs to be stated that it is my six years of psychotherapy training (the last two years were in experiential trauma therapy), in four different modalities with three years of working clinically with clients that defines my approach and responsibility to actors. While an acting coach or educator is focused on performance and technique, I am focused on supporting resilience and emotional capacity while keeping the mental health of the actor a priority. I do this by employing the ACES model (Actualizing Characters by Expanding Self-awareness). A research-based approach to character development that operates on the cornerstones of Resilience, Boundaries, Defence Management & Self-reflection.
ACES has been documented with case studies in my own practice and presented at conferences internationally. The proven methods I use are influenced by my psychotherapy training, but I am not a psychotherapist. I fill the space between acting coach, therapist, and Intimacy Coordinator. It's in this psychologically and emotionally vulnerable space where my work finds its niche. Where creativity meets vulnerability & commitment. Where I journey vicariously with the actor and meet them at their point of need supporting their journey ‘into’ and ‘out of’ their characters complex inner life.
AACE GUIDELINES STATE: No performer should be required to share private information, experiences or personal history during their practice. Educators should model for performers the kind of consideration and care they should practice with one another—and that they should expect from all their coaches, teachers and cast members.
As an Actor Care Specialist working with the ACES model, one of my focuses is on drawing attention to the actor’s personal material in relation to the character they are portraying. This is integral to our work so that connections & boundaries between character and actor can be created & understood. Self-reflection is also an important principal in the ACES model.
To this point, I will not ask you to share information that you are uncomfortable sharing or ask you to use your personal material as a ‘substitution’ for a character’s emotional life or situation. My reason for asking personal questions is to make you aware, if you are not already, of the similarities and differences that exist between your life and the characters life and the possibility that this could be triggering. ACES will always safeguard with resilience practices as needed and, as an Actor Care Specialist, it is my responsibility to ensure my clients are present and grounded at the end of every session.
AACE GUIDELINES STATE: Educators and coaches need to ensure they are creating a safe space before introducing or rehearsing the content, be prepared and skilled in handling the difficult and challenging interactions and discussions that may arise and be available to provide support, as necessary. Engage an intimacy director or co-ordinator to assist in teaching or coaching these kinds of scenes, unless you have taken specific intimacy training.
In addition to the above, I provide a safe, non-judgemental and contained space by;
1) informing you that everything that occurs in the session is confidential and stays in the session.
2) reminding you that you are in charge of your work. As such you will always be asked to contract with me in each session as to what you would like to work on and not what I want you to work on. This is about respecting your development at your pace.
3) stating I am a member of AACE and I committed to building a safe and respectful learning environment, where interactions are consent-based, and free of harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence.
4) explaining what my work entails and the difference between an Actor Care Specialist and an Acting Coach.
5) explaining each step in the ACES process and always asking permission before moving into the work.