I have some understanding of psychology – how does the Sunflower Effect build confidence?

The Sunflower Effect offers a non-judgmental space in which you can free yourself from the psychological barriers that are holding you back.

The approach works through the capacity of drama to bring about significant change in people – using an adapted form of drama  – which goes much further than an ordinary drama class.

This section is designed for people with some knowledge and understanding of psychology.

If reading this causes your mind to boggle, there is no need to understand anything about how or why this works. The beauty of the Sunflower Effect is that you don’t need to understand anything for it to work for you.

But for some people, it can make a real difference to understanding more about the psychology behind what happens.


It works directly with the unconscious patterns deeply buried within you. It does this by using the language the unconscious operates in, story, the language too of your dreams. So it’s a bit like being able to communicate with people who only speak a foreign language, in their own tongue.

We are thus able to work directly with the unconscious in the language it understands and resolve many issues that otherwise would remain insoluble.

Our psychology is often a mystery to us and we often don’t know the reason we feel the way we do – and it is difficult to make changes because the reasons we have shut down or retreated into our shell are so deeply hidden from us, i.e. in our unconscious.

The photo below shows a participant making a significant shift. At one level she is having great fun expressing herself – but at a deeper level she is liberating the parts of her that have been locked away


Both Jung and Freud understood the power of working with stories to effect powerful psychological change – particularly when working with ancient myths some of which are many thousands of years old. In fact, this healing system was an ancient form of medicine and has been around for thousands of years – and it worked.

The power of working with myth to unlock unconscious patterns

The Sunflower Effect draws on Jung and Freud’s work but takes it a step further through drawing on powerful transformational structures from dramatherapy. These healing methods have been used for thousands of years, long before psychology was ever invented.

In enacting powerful stories from myth and folklore – you will be working directly with your unconscious mind using the language of the unconscious – story. This is why our dreams take the form of stories – and is why we often don’t understand quite what our dreams are telling us. So by working in this way we are talking directly to our unconscious in a language it understands.

As you probably know, the reason it is so hard to solve our problems (including confidence issues) is because we have buried our past pain in the unconscious.

This is why the Sunflower Effect is so much more effective in other confidence methods that teach you techniques of how to look and sound confident, or just don’t go far enough. Methods like NLP and hypnotherapy work with the unconscious but they don’t give a forum to establish new behaviour.

I find that Claire’s methods and compassionate approach compliments hypnotherapy as clients can actually practise, explore and build on what they achieve through hypnotherapy, while being held in a safe space. You don’t need to be a wallflower anymore; you can become the sunflower that you really are. This book will show you how.”
Kirsten Dahlerup, Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Master practitioner kirstendahlerup.com

In enacting the story you will be working through the body. Body, mind and emotions come together so that you can liberate yourself physically of old habits and behaviours. It is now recognised that embodiment methods are far more effective at bringing about psychological change.


I also draw on Joseph Campbell’s work – a wonderful man who encouraged us all to “follow our bliss“, and he created what is called “The Hero’s Journey” – a way of seeing our journey in life and to overcome obstacles in our way.

This is of course very relevant to people who have encountered a lot of obstacles in their lives, offering them a pathway to realising that they can overcome even their toughest obstacles.

Joseph Campbell was a mythologist, and he saw how ancient myths were still relevant to us today. Indeed he went further than that to say that working with myths put you back in accord (in harmony) with Nature. What he means by this – is that working with myths enables you to access your true self, your natural self.

This is one of the key reason that the Sunflower Effect is so effective at enabling you to access your natural confidence. This is the confidence that is within you – but is deeply buried due to your personality or life experiences.

He also saw that as a civilisation that we are hopelessly out of touch with Nature.  This is another reason why we are stuck in our heads and cut off from our instincts and intuition. And this is even truer in the twenty-first century with the increasing impact that electronic gadgets are making on our everyday lives.

I was delighted when Phil Cousineau, author of the seminal book on Joseph Campbell’s work, recognised how much Joseph Campbell would have loved the approach I have developed – if he was still alive. He saw my approach as fulfilling Campbell’s vision.

Claire Schrader’s new book … fulfils Joseph Campbell’s vision of a remythologized world, one in which we would be, as he loved to quote Cezanne, more “in accord with nature.”
Phil Cousineau, author of The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on his Life and Work

He was talking about the textbook I edited Ritual Theatre. If you are a counsellor, psychotherapist or a professional working in this field, you may want to take a look at this book.

what is the making moves approach


In my courses, you will draw on all this as well as learning how to bypass your mind and connect with your natural instincts through which it is possible to truly free yourself of the limitations, fears and anxieties that keep you locked away.

This is also what will put you in touch with your natural confidence.

This is what makes the Sunflower Effect so unique. I discuss these principles also in my self-help book From Wallflower to Sunflower

See also The Curse of Being Too Nice and The Curse of Emotion

My training is in dramatherapy – which has enabled me to work in a safe and empowering way, as well as speeding up the process in which change can take place – so that my clients can make much faster progress than I did.

See my background and training.

There is, of course, an awful lot more to the process, based in complex psychological theory. You can find out more about how The Sunflower Effect in my book From Wallflower to Sunflower – the quiet person’s path to natural self-confidence. And I would highly recommend that you purchase this book if you want to understand more of how the process works.

You can also sign up for three free chapters.

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