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Special Guests 2013

Special Guest

Judith Greer Essex



Judith Greer Essex is the Founder and Director of the Expressive Arts Institute, San Diego, where, since 1998 with her partner David Wes Chester, she has been a module provider for EGS. A Registered Expressive Arts Therapist and Licensed Marriage and Family therapist, Judith was for many years a member of the Academy of Dance Therapist Registered with a Master's Degree from UCLA in Dance Therapy. She is a specialist in the language and social meaning of the body, dance therapy and improvisational performance. She created courses at several universities and theater conservatories, including the San Diego Repertory Theater Conservatory, where she developed a course on physical imagination. She brings the concept of embodied consciousness to life at the San Diego Institute.

At EGS Judith has taught the Advanced Training course many times and proctored the Thesis defence. When, in 2005 she was the Artist-in-Residence she performed a one woman show "Red Moon" and loves to put improvisational structures on dancers with all levels of experience. Her dissertation "Dionysos and the Shaman" is a hermeneutic research of the guiding metaphors for practice of Expressive Arts Therapy.

Special Guest


Wes Chester

M.A. Expressive Arts Therapy, CAGS

Wes Chester is an outdoorsman, artist, bird watcher, musician, naturalist and poet. His master's thesis introduced Expressive Arts to the concept of Eco-Aesthetics, an arts and philosophy based understanding of Decentering through the sensual encounter with nature.

In addition to teaching, he manages the Bayview Clubhouse, a milieu therapy program for persons with severe mentally illness, who are his greatest teachers. In private practice, he specializes in helping therapists and clients rediscover their aesthetic relationship to the natural world as a resource for growth, inspiration, change and recovery from trauma. He is also trains professionals in the importance of effective sexual health conversations with their clients and patients. Wes is the co-director of the Expressive Arts Institute, a school focused upon teaching through the embodied experience, and peer supported learning in an environment of scholarly inquiry.

Special Guest


Jack Saul


Jack Saul is a psychologist and family therapist, who has worked since the early 1980's in clinical and community settings creating programs that address the psychosocial needs of children and families suffering from domestic, urban, and political violence. Jack Saul co-founded the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture in 1995 and was its clinical director until 1998 when he founded NYU School of Medicine's International Trauma Studies Program (ITSP), now an independent post-graduate training and research institute in New York City, which he currently directs.

In 1999, Jack Saul established Refuge, a resource center in New York for survivors of political violence and forced migration, and a member of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs. Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Refuge implemented the FEMA funded Downtown Community Resource Center, a demonstration project in community resilience for residents and workers in Lower Manhattan. Refuge also developed African Refuge, a community drop-in center for African refugees and immigrants in Staten Island. Jack Saul has been a member since 2000 of the Kosovo Family Professional Educational Collaborative, which has been instrumental in the development of the community mental health system in post-war Kosovo.

He is currently researching the implementation of collective approaches to trauma recovery and systemic approaches to torture prevention. He consults to arts, media and humanitarian organizations on the development of stress management programs and has a private practice in Manhattan in individual, couple and family therapy. His book Collective Trauma, Collective Healing: Promoting Community Resilience in the Aftermath of Disaster has been published by Routledge in July, 2013.

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