Practicing Costume Therapy

Hi folks, my name is Danielle Diamond and I am artist of British, Scottish & Ukrainian heritage working out of Vancouver Canada, on the unceded territories of the Musqueam Squamish and Tsleil-waututh nations. I use she/her pronouns and identify as a femme-presenting, multi-spirited person. I am English speaking & Hard of Hearing.

Let’s Dive In:

  • I believe that #CostumeTherapy is a practice we, as expressionistic & emotional mammals, have been developing for millennia’s, as a way to both tell our stories and to help us make sense of who we are and what we are doing here.
  • During my decade long battle with an anxiety identity crisis (my words), I found that by using dress up, photoshoots & performance as a way to express myself, I was actually re-training my brain into becoming familiar with personality traits I wished to embody, OR aspects of myself that I wished to face & release. (you can read my story here)
  • My professional training & industry experience in the fields of costuming, photography, & art direction have come to a culmination in the foundational beginnings of my private practice in Costume Therapy.
  • I have designed a few methods which are informed by my own lived experiences and more then a decade’s worth of observation in these fields. Noting how people’s personal energy shifted, and often drastically, as I shifted their outer appearance with wardrobe, makeup, wigs & accessories.

Practicing costume & dramatic arts therapy is a great way to learn to trust yourself.

The Practice Unfolds:

  • Do you ever notice how at costumed-events, people seem to have a whole other level of fun? They cultivate a space where we can connect with our inner selves & each other, in a spontaneous & free manner.
  • I use the term ‘inner selves’ as a plural intentionally because I see much evidence to suggest we can have multiple personas at our disposal, even outside of the costume party environment. Each of these ‘selves’ can be individually developed for optimal function in different areas of our lives. 
  • Some of us (myself included) have experienced an ‘I’m too cool for this‘ attitude toward imaginative play or silliness. I see this attitude as our body’s way of saying “I’m Afraid.” Letting our guard down and tapping into our imagination can trigger unprocessed fear responses that were created by events in our past that said it was unsafe to express. 
  • This practice is for those of us who have bravely acknowledged some less-desirable personality patterns or observed habits that are holding us back from being who we’ve always wanted to be. You should be ready to do the work in transforming yourself

I believe there is deep relief to be found in donning a disguise & giving yourself permission to connect with your imagination.

How It Works

  • We begin with a complimentary zoom call to do a wellness check-in & make sure I feel this practice is safe/suitable for us to proceed with. *10 min.
  • Our first meeting is online. Here you share with me your current self-development goals & issues you’ve identified that have prevented you from ‘getting there’ on your own. Here we start brainstorming character concepts that may open the channel of transformation. *45 min.
  • Our next meeting is in person at the theatre! Our work starts by developing a character for you, that represents the energy you seek to embody after having meditated on our ideas in meeting one. I call this playing with a purpose & our tools are eccentric wardrobe options, makeup, wigs, accessories. *2.5 hrs
  • Session one completes with a photo shoot! The goal here is to capture dramatic & professional portrait of the character you embodied. This process helps regulate the brain while we are trying on new identities or becoming personas you wish to reconcile with. -*Your session includes 5 digital high resolution images & I highly suggest having one printed & displayed somewhere in your home.

Practice this process until you begin to feel a shift in your personality program. Have fun watching the integration of your current self & your costume therapy characters happen naturally in your day-to-day life

The Fine Print

  • I like to be very clear that I am not a therapist. I am an actress, a director & a professional costume stylist who has been observing the internal shifts that are inspired by dramatic outer transformations both in my own life and the life of my clients.
  • This practice is experimental in nature. You set the pace & I act as your guide, you can’t rush healing as much as we might like to! Like almost all self-development practices, it’s up to you to commit to the work in order to see results. There’s no ‘guarantee’ in this kind of work.
  • Shifting our persona is different then shifting a broken bone. It’s a cyclical process and requires personal dedication, patience, and a LOT of courage. I may recommend seeing a counsellor or psychotherapist in tandem to this work & I have a few great ones to suggest.

It is my intention to teach you a practice that you can use on your own time, it becomes a tool that you access when in need of a boost. 

Hey Google…Look Up ‘Costume Therapy’

  • I believe this concept is as old as the hills. From my viewpoint it stems from practices such as cultural myth reenactment, dressing in tribal regalia & greek theatre to name a few. Today however (according to the internet), there are very few people putting it into use modern use.

Where once it was a cultural practice inherited from our ancestors, today I am presenting it as an intentional self-development practice. As a granddaughter of settlers who passed on personally repressive religious practices, I have had to get creative.

  • Research is slowly evolving in this pioneering work, I’ve listed some links at the bottom of the page featuring the most relevant information I have found.

Looking Forward:

  • Launching late spring early summer, I will be taking this work a step further by bringing in the use of music, musical theatre, dance & spoken word! These dramatic arts will help us bring our characters to life, familiarizing our physical bodies with the traits we are manifesting, and offering a cathartic experience to brings us into the present moment, and allows for spontaneous self-discovery.

Please feel free to CONTACT ME with any questions. I suggest booking a 10 min complimentary ‘get to know me’ zoom meeting. Have your questions answered quickly & gauge how we vibe in a casual interview.

LINKS

Fashion Therapy Pioneer Stella Rose

Clinical Therapist Practicing Costume Therapy in NY

Psychological connection within Body art character Creation

History & Development of Play Therapy

Costumes In Play Therapy With Children

Costume Therapy With Elders

Chemo Patient Copes by doing Daily Dressup

College Professor on Benifits of Dress Up Therapy for Children

Last Words…

When you are being your true self, you are not looking for pleasure, you are not avoiding pain, you are not trying to get approval, nor trying to get someone to admire you.

You are not out to criticize someone else, or to defeat someone else, and you are not out to gain fame or power. You are naturally and spontaneously living as a genuine human being who has respect and consideration for other human beings. 

Diamond Heart Book Four: Indestructible Innocence A.H. Almaas