Drawing Words, Interactive Drawing Therapy.


When I arrived in New Zealand in 1975 to take up my position of Director of Planning and Social Development, I met Architect Russell Withers. At that time he was working with Jasmad Architects. In the late1970s and when the ANZAAs Conference was being held I met him again, in which time he had been influenced by John Heron who had founded of the Human Potential Research Project at the University of Surrey at Guildford. Heron had developed a version of Co-Counselling deriving from the work of Harvey Jackins and was a pioneer in the concept of Facilitation. He visited New Zealand and influenced both Russell Withers and Dale Hunter, both of whom went on to be very innovative in evolving ‘Interactive Drawing Therapy’ and ‘Global Facilitation’ respectively. Russell found from his work in Architecture, designing for individuals, couples and for businesses, that issues of personal, inter-personal and corporate conflict were often driving forces in asking the Architect to make physical changes to homes and workplaces. He realised that the Architect’s skills of sketching ideas, diagramming of processes and working with clients to identify the real nature of perceived problems could be refined and worked into a therapeutic process he called ‘Interactive Drawing Therapy’. He then gradually moved away from Architecture to becoming a full time trainer developer and practitioner of this therapeutic approach. The IDT technique was evolved by Russell through the 1980s to the present and he trained many people in New Zealand, Australia and overseas. It also became clear that this therapeutic tool could be extended into a powerful process for use in business management. In the 1990s I helped Russell to create ‘Graphic Facilitation’ as a method for managers to define objectives, identify conflicts and create resolved directions. Russell has put a great deal of his time and energy into promoting IDT and educating practitioners. The result of this is that he has published little of his innovative work. Using his work, I produced ‘Drawing Words’ to celebrate his achievement and my own experience, involvement and contribution to this very positive methodology. In this form it has not been made available before.