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Stanya Studentova

Stanya Studentova

Email: stanya[at]btinternet.com

Website: www.astafacilitation.net

Faculty Member of Processwork UK

Stanya Studentova

I hold a masters degree in psychology and a diploma in process oriented psychotherapy and facilitation. Currently I live and work in London. I use my psychology education in many areas of my work, as psychotherapist, coach, teacher, consultant with teams and supervisor in clinical and non clinical supervision. As a former art teacher I have a deep interest in “beauty”, creativity and creative processes.
Processwork has enabled me to take this interest even more into my everyday life – finding creativity and beauty in different situations and challenges that I face, and being able to support others to do the same. Whether working with individuals or groups I seek to unfold the creative direction in the moment, or just simply find the direction in our life and have the “guts” to live it. Art and artistic expressions on other hand enrich greatly my practice as a facilitator and psychotherapist. I also specifically work with artists, coaching and facilitating them around the challenges of their creative work.
As I am realizing more and more the importance and value of creativity for my own well being and sanity, I feed my life long passions for photography, pottery and textile art, and lately contemporary dance.

As an RSPOPUK faculty member I am engaged with, and teach students in UK and in Europe. I also lead a Processwork training programme under IPOP in the Czech republic. In these roles, among other things, I particularly focus on the personal development of my students. In my experience it is our interest in ourselves and our own growth, that makes it possible for us to work with other people’s growth and change. Our own interest in our limits and interacting with them, and getting to know our metaskills, is what help us to use the skills that we learn. It also facilitates our own capacity to be present with people. Using my own relationships with students, clients and supervises for this purpose is my ongoing research interest as well as challenge.

Processwork in my view is a very relational paradigm, and supports greatly my aspirations in this area. Understanding of the rank dynamics as well as very practical application of dreaming up theories are just two examples of Processwork theory that make a big difference to working with and relating to other people. I use these consistently not just in my own practice or with students of Processwork, but also in my supervision of practitioners from other psychotherapeutic modalities.
Lately I have been engaged in developing and teaching the application of Process-work theories in ethical practice and to ethical dilemmas.

In my private practice I work as a coach, psychotherapist, organizational consultant and I supervise number of clinical and non clinical teams and practitioners. Much of what I spoke of so far applies to my work in private practice. Among other things I draw on my experience of living in country that is different to the country where I was born. (Notice I am avoiding the word immigrant, as it is a very loaded word these days, that does not always do the justice to people and their stories!)
This experience of quite a radical change, and having to face and engage every day with the differences in me and around me, which are appearing often in quite subtle ways, is an enriching experience – at least it was and is for me. Not always easy, but I see it as particularly meaningful for my work with people. Unwittingly I developed a sensitivity and sharpness for facilitating processes around change, grappling with differences and discovering and finding ease in being who we are.

Cross cultural work is at the centre of my work as a clinical lead in a community mental health centre. I see this as more than developing services (and my own clinical work) with clients from different cultural backgrounds and in languages different to English. But also working with people whose perceptions and everyday experiences are often extreme, outside of what we consider “a norm” or we can say a “culture” in our society. As a practitioner for whom the client’s process is leading the way of working, I utilize the many methods and approaches that are available to me to support the client’s process and their creativity. This often means staying present with the client in the difficult reality of their situation. From Processwork theory one of the things I find most useful is what Arnold Mindell calls “shamanic” working. Joining the client in their experience or even taking the process temporarily into myself. Contrary to the loneliness that experiences outside of the norm can evoke, this in itself makes lots of difference to the clients.
Lastly I want to mention the use of systemic thinking. My ability to perceive the interconnections (relationships, as Gregory Bateson would put it) between the different parts of the whole system, and being able to facilitate the interaction be-tween these, is one of the interventions that I find incredibly useful. Working in the community mental health centre this way I can support the client’s process individually but also in relation to the whole system – our centre and other organizations. To think systemically is also supportive in working with such phenomena as vicarious trauma and support for the well being of the staff in the centre. Systemic thinking is something i draw on a lot in my work in consulting with organizations. Use of systemic thinking and the challenges of the multifaceted nature of organizational change, and often a “clear goal” and context, makes me utilize all the skills that I have and expand into another “culture”.
As i write this description – inspired by the brief of describing through our work some aspects of Processwork – I realise the diversity of the applications of Processwork. I also realise the diversity of my own work, and although I separated my work in some areas or contexts of application, my approach is very integrated in all that I do, and the experience and understanding gained in these different areas influence who I am and how I work in all of these different contexts.

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