Ritual Play Training – part 2


Click to read about part 1 (live) 

Click for overview of  5-day Ritual Play Training residential in Finland 2 – 6 August 2023


The material below will be interwoven as theory and practice during the 3 -days that are dedicated to learning the principles and linages behind Ritual Play. 

1) Background of Ritual Play in:

Participatory Arts

Healing Arts 
(Sensorimotor Psychotherapy)

Somatic Movement Practices

Tantra & Kink 

2) Sense of safety through awareness of location & positive orienting habits

What is it? & How to use it with your clients? It is important for our body-mind to locate itself in space in order to experience a sense of safety. This is hierarchically more important than social safety. During the training you will learn how to use the perception of the space as a tool to:

– make your clients / participants feel safer and therefore more able to open up to play

– if the sense of safety is diminishing during a session or in a group how to then re-source it in your clients and /or in yourself

3) Sense of safety through social interaction

What is it? Understanding the nervous system functioning that is at play to create interactions with your clients that keeps both you and your client within a sense of safety and integrity.
You will learn the basics about Social Engagement System, the Vagus Nerve complex, Neuroception, Self-regulation. Competent co-regulation, Window of Tolerance:

How to use it with your clients? You will learn how to – with your body, breath, eyes, sound, movement, face-to-face expressions – communicate non-verbally that you are a safer person to be with. You will learn what are the bodily signals in your clients to pay attention to, so they stay within their window of tolerance in the play. The learning will be embodied through practice.


4) Dual Awareness 

What is it? & How to use it with your clients? Dual Awareness is when a person can witness them self simultaneously as they are feeling and sensing and being totally immersed in their experiences. You will learn how to access and utilise this competency. This is a key competency in order to be both present in the play with the client and simultaneously hold the responsibility for the overall safety of the session as well as timing and other practicalities. 

5) Action – Movement

All of the somatic practices (Feldenkrais, Body-Mind Centering, Somatics by Thomas Hanna) that have influenced Ritual Play emphasized the importance of action, movement and mobilization for growth, self-discovery & -learning, healing, awareness, transformation, exploration, expansion.

Ritual Play started in 2012 as an experiment in how a 1:1 touch session modality and the mindset of the practitioner could be designed to welcome and hold clarity for a client’s action and mobilising on behalf of them self. All session modalities I was aware of focused on touch being performed on the client: the familiar one-way touch situation. 

This learning part will give a few perspectives on why it is important to also have a session modality that sanctify the client’s action and mobilising on behalf of them self.


6) Organicity attention: where does it go next, next and next … 

What is it? Story, mental images, roleplaying or production of results are not the primary movers in the Ritual Play experience. So, what is the primary mover in the Ritual Play dynamic?

The primary mover in the Ritual Play dynamic is tapped into by focusing once attention on an ever present undercurrent of felt sense experience.

In the non-verbal, sensorymotor, felt sense part of all humans there is a flow of physical sensations that are continually generated by movement of all sorts within the body: movement of muscles, ligaments, bone, fluids, organs, breath, biochemical processes and energy. These ongoing sensations can, with our attention, be tapped into any time.

How to use it with your clients? If the flow in the play ceases this is a way to tap into an ever available flow. And it is also in my mind a creative way to practice circulating energy, like a tantric practice in a very free form way.  


7) Consent & Agreement skills 

What is it? & How to use them with your clients?
  The essential consent skill for a Ritual Play practitioner is knowledge of how to ensure that each part that you lead the client onwards in during a session, is based in consent and agreement, all through out the session.

Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent and her 3-minute Game offers a framework to conceptually and experientially understand doing and being done to and how they relate to the directions of giving and receiving. WoC will not be taught in the course but will be part of the dialogue concerning Ritual Play. Come prepared to the course by watching Betty’s free WoC material on https://bettymartin.org/videos… or attend one of her workshops if you haven’t already. 


8) Through out the online course and the weekend you will learn about Risks & Triggers:

You will learn about different kinds of triggers that might arise during the session and how to avoid them. You will also learn what to do with them if they happen.


9) Power Hierarchy Awareness

What is it? & How to use it with your clients? The practitioner holds a general power in relation to the client by offering the session and groups and by being the expert. The tendency to go along with a practitioner is almost automatic for most clients. You will increase embodied awareness concerning this and how to empower your clients instead.


10) Movement vocabulary by Pat Ogden from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. 

What is it? Practicing some movement vocabulary – reach, yield, grasp, pull, push.  

How to use it with your clients? By practicing them in self and feeling a partners movement vocabulary with awareness it will anchor more spatial & body awareness in the practitioner. 


10) Reversibility
 What is it? & How to use it with your clients? Reversibility means the ability to stop an action, an emotional or an arousal process – to restart it, reverse it, redirect it or drop it all together. You play within the frames of reversibility when you give your impulses & responses to the dynamic in a way so that the practitioner as well as the co-playing client has a choice on how to respond. The better you have this skill the smother flow there will be in the dynamic, and the safer both you and the client will feel. We will practice a few alternative ways to do reversibility in a simple way with a group.   

11) Experimenting with Ritual Play and different add-ins and in different contexts:  With a thorough understanding of the Ritual Play Practice in it’s own form, then it is fun to experiment  … 

1. with some add-ins… a power hat, furniture, food, flowers, sensation items, energy items, rope, depending on the context – sex toys etz..  

2.  with some variations in context .. in the dark (one, both or all (trios) being blindfolded) 3. outdoors 4. in water 5. embodying different personas and their cloths (dress up) 6. masks  


12) Hybrid of Ritual Play and Systemic Constellation work. Ritual Play has strong connection to Systemic Constellation (through the placing in space – technique & more). Playing with this hybrid version will make the practice of Systemic Constellation, more familiar to those who are new to it. And it might offer inspiring ahas about both Ritual Play and Constellation work to those familiar with the later.


13) Roleplaying Ritual Play practitioner and client. Offering Ritual Play sessions to each other. 




Feedback from earlier participants: 

“This course offered me new ways of thinking, opening windows where I didn’t know there were any. Marina has a big theoretical background she can share from which is profound. Next to that she is very flexible to the needs of the group, offers great exercises that you immediately can implement in your life and sessions.Marina has a really relaxing way of being with the group, which was an eye opener for the very structured part of myself. I enjoyed the depth through simplicity that was offered. Thank you!”  


“This embodied knowledge is an amazingly powerful tool. I highly recommend Marina’s Ritual Play Training for anyone who wants to be a leader – for individuals, groups or themselves.

The training also gave me an in-depth understanding of the connection between Ritual Play and Participatory Culture. Participatory Culture is about persons taking part in culture not having only passive roles as a choice. Instead one can choose to interact and co-create. Our entire civilization is stepping into an interactive paradigm, where we go from being passive consumers of culture and media to being involved in creating the culture we live in. Ritual Play contributes in a fantastic way to deepen and expand that paradigm.

Previously, I have learned on a theoretical plan about the autonomic nervous system – about the sympathetic and parasympathetic, and the interchange between them. Now, thanks to Ritual Play Training part 2, this theoretical knowledge could be transformed into practical skills. Now I notice when a person is within the Window of Tolerance and when they are not. If I myself were to be outside the Tolerance window, I know exactly what I can do to help myself back in. This has become a huge empowerment!

Now in retrospect I can see that in some job contexts I have previously fallen outside the Tolerance window. I have not seen this so clearly before. Now I know what I can do in those situations to come back to a calm and resource-filled state.

 Just in the same way, I can do in deep close relationships, and also as a workshop leader when needed. Now, for example, as a workshop leader I can notice when a participant is heading out of his Tolerance window. Then I know what I can do to keep them within the Tolerance window and how I help them back if something should have triggered them.

Tobias Berlin, workshop facilitator in personal development.