Harmonising trauma and stress disorders
through the arts and movement

Practical steps for educators,  parents, and anyone working with children based on Steiner’s picture of the human being.

Bringing together the wisdom of Rudolf’s Steiner’s insights into human development with the profound therapeutic effects of artistic work–including clay modelling, form drawing and movement–this professional development program offers insights and tools to proactively and positively address stress and trauma. It is relevant to parents, teachers and anyone who is interested in how to meet this in both children and adults.

Around the world we are witnessing increasing levels of anxiety, a sense of dislocation and challenging behaviours particularly in the children in our care, but also in adults, arising from trauma and stress.

In this program we will begin with a comprehensive foundation in human development, as the basis for exploring how stress and trauma can lead to a disturbance in the unfolding of the twelve senses with associated ramifications. 

View an Information Evening recording for this course by clicking here.   

'I came to the course with no understanding and expectations, out of pure curiosity on the subject. I was blown away by what I got out of it in so many different aspects. The biggest one is a sense of awareness - it was like I gained a third eye and could see myself clearly. Having a sense of awareness is such a big thing in meditation, and I had had a hard time developing it. This course gave me an understanding, a tool, a lifeskill, personally and professionally, and as a parent and someone who is interested in healing and holistic therapies.' - 2021 Harmonising Trauma participant
Harmonising Trauma and Stress Disorder timetable

Read more about this course

This program begins with an overview of human development as the foundation for exploring ways of working positively, creatively and proactively to harmonise the effects of trauma and stress disorders.

Human Development:

Rudolf Steiner’s picture of human development divides life into 7 year phases. In each phase a new aspect of consciousness is born and further developed, and brings with it particular tasks, potential and challenges.

We will consider and discuss: key turning points; the patterns of experience and behaviours we commonly experience over the 7 year phases; and learn about how this understanding of human development can help us know more about ourselves and others, providing insights into how we can work with the challenges that arise in life. It provides the basis for working with strategies to address the expression of trauma and stress disorders, whether in adult life or with children.

3- and 4- and 9- fold human being:

In addition to the 7 year phases Rudolf Steiner gave other models how we can view and understand the human being. While the 3-, 4- and 9-fold human are included in the theory of human development. Here we will look at his indications in some more detail.

Nourishing and healing the 12 senses:

All education must have a therapeutic element and it is our task as educators to equip children with strengths and abilities so that they can master the challenges they will face.

Sensory perception forms the basis of your relationship with yourself, your surroundings, and the people around you. There is a strong relationship between sensory perception, and health and vitality. When our sense perceptions are disrupted, this hinders our development, learning and functioning in the world. We will explore each of the 12 senses and their roles,  but also what this means on an emotional and relational level. We will investigate how the senses develop, what happens if a sense is under or over stimulated, and what we can do to nourish, support and harmonise the healthy unfolding of each sense.

Trauma and stress disorder:

What is trauma? What is stress?

How trauma impacts on:

  • overall human development;
  • development of consciousness;
  • 3- and 4-fold human being;
  • thinking, feeling, willing and the 4 members ;
  • 12 senses ;
  • brain development;
  • the polyvagal system;
  • primary prevention of PTSD.


Resilience building and trauma education overlap:  

  • Conditions for resilience building;
  • Attachment Theory;
  • Attitudes of the teacher to help the traumatised child.


Educator’s role:

  • What is the educator’s task?
  • Which attitudes of the educator/parent/therapist support the child?
  • Which activities are helpful?
  • How do we help to build resilience?
  • What other support can we call upon?
  • Clarifying the role of the educator as distinct from a therapist.

Clay modelling:

Sculptural modelling works on human development in many ways. As we mould the clay, as we find the right amount of pressure or movement, the clay moulds us and works deeply on our Etheric bodies. Modelling becomes like a dialogue between the individual and his/her work, which is stimulating and ever changing, and allows many discoveries. Through forming and reforming, through the observation of form in nature, through engaging an open mind and flexibility of thinking, the hand becomes the teacher of our mind as it explores and stumbles through the many possibilities, unexpected combinations and configurations of convex and concave shapes. Our mind and intellect are quite likely to have a planned outcome in mind for our piece of clay. However, it is our intelligent hand which ultimately guides the way with sensitivity and intuitive will.

Form Drawing:
Form drawing is a free hand, versatile and very stimulating artistic activity unique to Rudolf Steiner education.  In these sessions, we will explore ways in which form drawing can be applied either in the classroom or as a personal development and therapeutic tool. Form drawing teaches us to work with the polarity of the straight and the curved line, and the spaces created in between—the plane.

We will experience several different form drawing techniques, consider the difference between them and determine how they may contribute to harmonising the effects of trauma and stress. When we participate in Form Drawing, it brings about an inner feeling of the ‘I’, a feeling which is often fractured and disconnected when a person has experienced sustained stress or trauma. It strengthens the sense of the self, and helps restore a feeling of balance and harmony within, by bringing form and order to inner chaos, or conversely, by bringing fluidity to a ‘frozen’ inner feeling.

This drawing practice has many applications and benefits:

  • it prepares and improves the way we write and draw;
  • It encourages thinking, feeling and will development;
  • It works deeply on our sense development, in particular the four lower senses: touch, life, movement and balance. We learn to move with certainty across the paper. These skills may allow us to move with greater clarity and precision through our life. We can learn to move freely, dynamically and with courage.

Movement is an essential and critical foundation for healthy human development and learning. 

We will explore this in detail as part of our study of the Twelve Senses;  participate in movement during class with Tom Hungerford;  and will be joined by Janina Papas who specialises in sensory integration through specific movements.  Janina will consider questions including: How do learning, social/emotional and behavioural difficulties arise? How can we provide help and support in a stress-free, consistent, positive way; aiding sensory integration via movement, painting and drawing?


Tania Hungerford

Tania Hungerford has been a teacher at the Seminar for more than 20 years and over this time has developed rich and meaningful learning experiences for the many students who have come to study here. She teaches across a range of courses and subjects, and also wears other hats as part of her multifaceted role here.

She brings a depth of experience working with adults out of anthroposophy, drawing on a comprehensive background of training in the areas of sculpture, social science, form drawing, biography work, counselling and art therapy.

At the Seminar, Tania is a first year coordinator of the full time Advanced Diploma of Rudolf Steiner Education, and teaches Steiner teacher training students in the following units: Sculpture, Form Drawing, the Twelve Senses, Human Development, the Four Temperaments, Goethean Observation, Professional Communication and Conflict Resolution, understanding and working with Trauma and developing inclusive teaching practices for working with Children with Special Learning Needs.

She also teaches in our part-time online course for Primary Class Teacher Rudolf Steiner Ed 1-8 and this year will be offering the first term of our on campus Saturday morning “Arts for meaning and connection’ course.

Over the past decade Tania has offered many Professional Development programs to Waldorf Teachers in schools around Australia and in Asia. Tania has qualifications including a Certificate in Steiner Education; Advanced Diploma in Rudolf Steiner Education; Certificate in Biography Counselling; Bachelor of Social Science/Counselling; Grad Diploma in Experiential and Creative Art; Masters of Therapeutic Arts Practice;  CERT IV TAE40116.

Janina Papas

Janina Papas works extensively with schools, parents and children bringing sensory integration activities and exercises to support development and learning. She has graduate qualifications specialising in learning difficulties, and has been a class teacher in a regional Steiner School and continues to consult with schools. She has presented workshops at international and national conferences, and also participates in the Steiner Teacher Education courses at the Seminar.  Janina is a qualified Three Fold Educational Support practitioner and has been working with the Extra Lesson for 20 years. 

Tom Hungerford

Tom has taught in Steiner Schools for 25 years, principally as a Bothmer Gymnast and Physical Education Teacher but also extensively in the High School in the Hard Crafts with projects such as leather book binding, shoe making, metal work and basketry.

Tom was most recently a Class Teacher at Sophia Mundi Steiner School in Melbourne. Tom has worked extensively in adult education presenting at workshops, conferences and professional development programs around Australia and internationally. He has taught at the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar for 20 years and is currently teaching many units in the Advanced Diploma of Rudolf Steiner Education.

Information for students

If you have already completed foundations of anthroposphy, you may join the course in term 4.

All courses are conducted in English and open to local and international students. 

Monday evenings from 7.00-9.00pm.

Cost: $445 per term 

Online, live streamed.  All sessions will be recorded and made available for the duration of the term.

Information:  Carmen +61 3 9876 5199 or email: c.kwong@steinerseminar.edu.au

Term dates 2023

Term 3 (7 weeks):
Monday 24 July – Monday 4 September

Term 4 (7 weeks):
Monday 9 October- Tuesday 20 November

Certificate of Professional Development

Our part-time courses come with a certificate of Professional Development hours, subject to your attendance of 80% of sessions in order to gain the acknowledgement of PD hours completed.

What you will need

A bag of handbuilding clay (this usually comes as single block of 10/15 kg in one bag, and costs approximately $15-20 per bag)- any colour. Please do not buy air drying clay. Look up on the internet where you can access a ceramic/pottery supplier.

Coloured pencils and A3 size plain drawing paper (loose leaf or in a book)

A computer (not a mobile phone) with sufficient internet bandwith and a camera to join the Zoom sessions.

Register for online course

This course is finished for 2023.  Please register your interest for next opening, possibly 2025.

For information or assistance please call Carmen on 03 9876 5199 or email at c.kwong@steinerseminar.edu.au .