How to Enhance Relationships with Your Circus Students

Circus News

“Being With” — How to Enhance Relationships with Your Circus Students 

At The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA), where I am the Director of Social Circus, we seek to improve the quality of life for the people we serve, particularly children, using circus arts as a catalyst for positive change and personal growth. In my work outside of SANCA, I am a play therapist. Play therapy has given me tools for facilitating relationships with children that I regularly bring into my work at SANCA, as building strong, safe relationships helps us fulfill our mission of changing children’s lives and supporting their growth. I find these tools invaluable at the circus, where we are serving hundreds of children each week. In play therapy we communicate to children, “I am here, I understand, I hear you, I care.” We call this “Being With”.
Being With: Skills for Effective Relating Regularly, I am asked to consult on behavioral issues coaches encounter in the process of teaching circus arts. We are often looking for shortcuts to getting kids to “behave”, but we find those shortcuts don’t work. The most powerful tool we have for addressing behavioral issues is a strong relationship, and that takes time to cultivate. The process of building a relations...
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Amber Parker

Amber Parker is Social Circus Director at The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in Seattle, WA. In addition to her work at SANCA, Amber is a Play Therapist, Drama Therapist, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Since 2016, Amber has been re-envisioning and re-adapting social circus to be a trauma-focused creative arts therapy for adults through the Transformational Women’s Circus, and she has integrated Play Therapy with Social Circus in The Every Body’s Circus program to create new, adaptable circus classes for Neurodiverse children. Amber has presented her work at the 2016 American Circus Educators Conference, at The Smithsonian’s 2017 Folk Life Festival, at Cirque Du Soleil’s 2019 Social Circus Symposium, and she has been published in American Circus Educators Magazine, Seattle Magazine, and now, in CircusTalk!