HUT invites you to [BLANK]: A Collaboration between Clean Break & Donmar Warehouse 

Whilst HUT cannot invite you into the therapy room, we hope that [Blank]: by Alice Birch will help you understand the emotional and psychological landscapes of the women for whom HUT’s services are aimed for, as well as appreciate the critical safety net we provide. 

The play consisted of vignettes representing lived experiences of women in the CJS, similar to those encountered by HUT therapists within sessions. It explored the devastating impact on those left behind when a woman goes to prison, and the challenges she then faces in trying to re-engage with life outside prison. Clean Break is a unique theatre company focused solely on women affected by the criminal justice system and is an important collaborator for HUT.

This paragraph is a short version of the article written by the co-founder of HUT explaining the parallels between [Blank] and HUT’s work. The first scene, Arms, represents the initial stage of therapy, when clients wonder if it is safe to lean on support. Magnolia, is a scene of a foster mother sharing a peaceful moment with her foster daughter. As the scene develops, the mother expresses frustration and fear that her daughter will eventually turn towards her biological mother. Carrier Bags, is a scene highlighting the importance of therapeutic boundaries for children whose boundaries have been violated, repeatedly. The final scene, Salt, is about a woman trying to make amends for her long absence during her daughter’s childhood. She tries to dissociate from feelings of pain and guilt and to hold on to happy memories, but her daughter disabuses her of the reality of the idealized seaside outings.

HUT therapists work alongside clients to break down defences that hamper development. Some defences seem inappropriate; yet may be adaptive and essential for survival at the time. After about a year of work with each client, therapists are left, uncertain whether the growth witnessed in their client will continue to bloom, like the foster mother in Magnolia.

The experiences depicted in [BLANK] are distressing, shocking and sadly realistic. The play illustrates the need for HUT’s specialist psychotherapeutic services for women who, often with their children, are caught within a criminal justice system, which does not provide sufficient resources to address their core mental health issues.  Without specialist help, there is little chance these women will ever achieve purposeful lives, and the depressing cycle of their children being much more likely to become criminal offenders will continue. HUT provides life-saving help to these women.

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