Image Credit: Hasan Almasi on Unsplash
Sarah Lynne Bowman
Sarah Lynne Bowman (Ph.D.) is a professor, scholar, game designer, and event organizer. She has taught various college classes in Game Design, Humanities, English, and Communication. In 2010, she published The Functions of Role-playing Games: How Participants Create Community, Solve Problems, and Explore Identity through McFarland Press.
Currently, she works as a Senior Lecturer for the Department of Game Design at Uppsala University Campus Gotland where she helped found the Transformative Play Initiative in 2021. She also serves as the Program Coordinator for the Peace & Conflict Studies program in the Interdisciplinary Studies department at Austin Community College.
Bowman contributes regularly to the popular and academic discourse around role-playing game studies. helped organize the Living Games Conference (2014, 2016, 2018) and co-coordinated the Role-playing and Simulation in Education Conference (2016, 2018). She served as an editor for The Wyrd Con Companion Book from 2012-2015, is a coordinating editor for the International Journal of Role-playing, and is a managing editor for the magazine Nordiclarp.org. Her current research and game design interests include safety, calibration, and consent; larp as a therapeutic and educational tool; spirituality through play; role-playing and intimacy; and other matters related to transformative play.
Dani Higgins (LPC, NCC) is a psychotherapist who has also staffed multiple game events. They have a private practice, Liminal Counseling, in Denver, Colorado. They specialize in working with adult LGBTQ+ clients who are dealing with trauma, gender dysphoria, ADHD, and/or codependency. Dani comes from an existentialist therapeutic orientation, and implements into their therapy a variety of modalities such as Gestalt, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Motivational Interviewing (MI). They are currently in the certification process for both clinical supervision and equine assisted mental health.
Dani has given trainings and presentations on trauma, spiritual emergency and initiatory experiences, the intersection of psychology and spirituality, the psychospiritual value and potential in role-playing games, non-binary gender identity in the workplace, and counseling non-monogamous clients. Dani is especially interested in the psychotherapeutic potential of role-playing games in a group setting.
Symbiosis explores the quest to learn healthier coping and communication skills in relationships. In this live action role-playing (larp) experience, we will use character embodiment within a fictional setting to evoke the energetic dynamics underpinning relationship conflicts. The character interactions in Symbiosis draw inspiration from principles in counseling, including attachment theory, Gestalt therapy, and transactional analysis. This enactment work will help us use metaphoric language to practice relationship skills in an embodied, somatic way. We will then process our experiences together, sharing our reflections on our own behavioral tendencies in relationships.
The characters in Symbiosis are an alien species on the planet Saturn who subsist on stardust. In this larp, a group of Saturnite adolescents are sequestered at a retreat. Their work is guided by the Gardener, a fully adult Symbiote, who facilitates their development through a series of structured exercises. In adolescence, Saturnites are Parasitic -- meaning that in order to acquire stardust, they can only extract it from their loved ones through dysfunctional strategies. As they mature, this species learns Symbiotic traits, which allow them to create new stardust together through mutual exchange and interdependency. Symbiosis enacts the journey of struggle and transformation that can occur within the alchemical container of relationships, with the ultimate goal of practicing how to attune more harmoniously with others.
Details about the experience:
Come learn and grow with us in the gardens of Saturn.
Price (sliding scale): $100, $75, or $50 (see diagram)
Maximum Players: 13
Image Credit: Yun Xu on Unsplash