Lucia Divieste Severtson, MA, LPC, RDMT
I’m a Second Generation daughter of Italian immigrants who put down roots in NE Ohio. Growing up, I played the role of a kind, patient, even keeled, quiet, people pleasing, rule following, compliant girl.
I'm being held by my mother in the picture below.
All that changed when at the age of 19 I defied my family’s expectations to pursue a career in acting. Let's set the scene: Christmas dinner included a rehearsed monologue of my plans to act. I was met with copious tears, screaming, and heaps of guilt sprinkled with “How can you do this to us?” and “Are you going to be an underwear model?” Although I can see the humor now, I assure you it was not funny at the time.
But acting was a gift to me and a boon to my confidence. It encouraged me to improve my communication, adaptability, self image - among other benefits.
Below, I am leading a recent Brave Women's Monologue Troupe.
My big takeaway: We, just like actors, are far more than the narrow range of roles we were given to play by family and society.
But almost as soon as the ink was dry on my graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, I wrestled (again) with societal and family expectations of who I SHOULD be.
I knew how important movement and therapy were but how could I combine them? I doubted myself and stayed on a linear path of traditional therapy, spending many years as a straight-laced talk therapist.
In 2019, I suffered a debilitating episode of anxiety leaving me barely able to function day to day. I tried everything and anything you could imagine: Yoga, Reiki, acupuncture, fancy vitamins, psychic healers, the whole gambit of wellness services found in the Denver area.
Through my recovery process I learned the true meaning of everyday bravery and I began to reclaim who I am, not who I SHOULD be. My Aha! moment came when I engaged in Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy which is a fancy psychological term for learning to align with bravery not fear. I became ok with being uncomfortable and gave myself permission to be frightened and kept moving forward.
Now, I offer the only Drama Based Empowerment Workshops in the Denver Metro Area Led by a Psychotherapist.
Mission: The Brave Women’s Transformation Project gives women the awareness and skills to break free of societal and family conditioning that causes anxiety and prevents them from living full lives. Using therapeutic coaching, somatic therapy, drama therapy techniques in a live setting with other women, bravery replaces fear and confidence replaces anxiety.
We value bravery, community, play, and creativity.
When we embody bravery we feel fear and hear negative thoughts BUT we choose to move forward even though fear is still there. We get uncomfortable and creatively co-exist even when fear tries to co-star in our life.
We’ll identify and change the destructive or disturbing thought patterns using cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.
We’ll practice flexibility with Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) where we accept negative thoughts, feelings, symptoms, or circumstances while also committing to healthy, constructive action.
Break the cycle of fear and avoidance with exposure and response therapy or ERP.
Despite rhetoric about “sisterhood” and “boss babes” there’s still competitive and passive aggressive behavior among women. BWTP creates a cohesive community of women who lead, create and empower each other.
At some point, we’re told to stop playing and become adults. Or the only acceptable playing becomes video games or sports. But there’s so much more to play! Drama Therapy allows us to connect with ourselves and our co-stars and to show our true, unadulterated selves.
Like play, creativity is undervalued and rarely valued in our culture. We are born creative beings but at some point we’re sold a story that we’d never make it as an artist or an actor and we need to “get serious about our lives”
I can’t be the only one who was criticized by an elementary art school teacher right? It seems silly, but those criticisms hurt and we take other people’s truths as our own. BWTP allows you to play and create through performance, creative writing, and visual art. Your ideas matter, are needed, and only you can bring them to life.