Life Performance

San Francisco | New York City

Life Performance

San Francisco | New York City

“Embracing performance and play as catalysts
for new and more creative ways of living,
loving, healing and helping.”


Life Performance Coaching is one of several centers in the U.S. that practice social therapeutics and performance activism in San Francisco, New York City and via videoconferencing.

Social therapeutics is an alternative and radically humanistic approach to human development and social change that relates to people of all ages and life circumstance as social performers and creators of their lives and indeed the world. It grew out of social therapy a non-diagnostic, development focused group psychotherapy that has been in its very practice a challenge to the medical model. Every week in therapy and coaching centers around the country and now the world via the magic of the internet, social therapists and coaches lead diverse groups of people in the intimate, creative, messy activity of building and creating groups where people can get help with the pain that comes from living in a deeply troubled world.

Executive, professional and personal coaching at Life Performance Coaching are for people who are ready to make a serious commitment to growth. We deal with a broad range of development issues with a particular focus on relationship building.

We are excited about the growth of a movement of people across the U.S. and globally who are embracing performance as a catalyst for new and more creative ways of living, loving, healing and helping.



Joyce Dattner is a life performance and executive coach based in New York City and San Francisco, where she directs Life Performance Coaching. She is the former director of the All Stars Project of the San Francisco Bay Area, and now sits on its national Board of Directors. A senior trainer, Joyce has traveled internationally to advance the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy’s performance-based approach to human development. In the early 1970s, she taught in the New York City public schools before joining Institute co-founder, Fred Newman, to develop social therapeutics.



Helen Abel, a social worker and therapist for more than 40 years, is now bringing her passion and skill for helping people transform painful ways of living their lives to her work as a life coach at Life Performance Coaching. She has been influenced by her training over the last decade in the practice and theory of improvisational theatre, and by her ongoing study of the work of Fred Newman and other postmodern approaches to human development and community building. Helen has come to believe that she can most effectively help people develop by helping them learn how to use their capacity to create, perform and play. As a life coach, Helen helps her clients access these skills as she leads them in creatively developing more effective and impactful conversations with their friends, family and colleagues.

Dr. Raquell Holmes joins Life Performance Coaching staff to offer online life performance coaching for professionals in scientific and technical fields. Her goal is to create an environment in which everyone can get help with the emotional, performative, and strategic (philosophical and political) challenges of creating their careers. This includes, and is not limited to, pursuing graduate degrees, early career jobs or social innovations in the culture and practice of science research and education. 
“Social therapeutics,” Holmes remarks, “the name says so much. It is a practice of talking with others that challenges our assumptions about how we have to work, what others are supposed to be doing, why our work environment is so stressful, to name a few.”

As a long time life coach, Randy Wilson (they/them/theirs) is a skilled and effective leader of creating environments that are challenging and loving and that help clients become more creative choice makers. Having grown to meet many challenges in their life, including living with HIV for nearly 4 decades, they have come to believe that participating in building community focused on the development of all involved helps to reshape and redefine emotional and physical pain.

People respond in all sorts of ways to how they experience pain in their lives including using alcohol, drugs and/or sex to “medicate” themselves. Randy specializes in helping their clients recreate their relationship to that pain, both physical and emotional by helping them transform how they live their lives with others. Trained in Life Performance Coaching’s performance-based approach to development, Randy believes that people from all walks of life can come together and learn how to use our human capacity to perform to create new and effective ways of relating to ourselves, our friends and to the world.

Let's Develop: Creating New Performances of Memory Loss, Dementia & Growing Older

A playful & philosophical exploration
with Mary Fridley, Susan Massad, MD
& Kari Rogenski, RDT, LMFT

Friday, April 17, 2020
12:30pm – 3:00pm

The Point at Rockridge
4500 Gilbert Street, Oakland

(at Pleasant Valley Ave opposite the Ridge Shopping Center)
Parking: Street parking or at the Ridge Shopping Center across the street;
17 min walk from Rockridge BART stop;
AC transit #12 bus to Gilbert St on Pleasant Valley Ave 
or #51 bus to Pleasant Valley Ave stop on Broadway.

Fee: $40  |  Lower Income Fee: $25


In this experiential workshop, we will use improvisational games, creative exercises and philosophical conversation to explore what it means to create an environment that encourages the joy of discovery, the emergence of creativity and embrace the risk-taking and dream making possible when improvisational play is how we do everything in our lives. We welcome everyone – people living with dementia and memory loss, care partners, family members, artists and advocates, health professionals and community members – looking for new and more creative ways to approach aging, memory loss and dementia.

Mary and Susan’s wonderful article The Joy of Dementia appears in the February/March 2020 issue of the Australian Journal of Dementia Care. Click here to access the article. Enjoy!

Mary Fridley is pro-bono Director of Special Projects at the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy (ESI), a workshop leader and designer, a playwright, theater director and non-profit fundraising consultant. Trained as a social therapeutic practitioner, a post-modern humanistic and group-oriented therapeutic and education approach, Mary co-leads a popular workshop series, ‘Laughing Matters’, for people of all ages and life circumstances across the country.

Susan Massad is a retired physician with 51 years of internal medicine practice. She was an early pioneer who brought performance and improvisation into training medical residents in the late 90’s, and was honored in 2004 as one of the best doctors in NYC. In 2006 she launched a senior theater and improvisation workshop program called the New Timers. As ESI faculty she leads ongoing conversations on health, wellness and growing older. Susan wrote her first play, REMEMBER? REMEMBER!, that deals with aging and memory loss.

Kari Rogenski’s love of elders began as a child, and spending time with her three Grandmothers was always a joy. Kari combined her passion for eldercare & the creative arts by becoming a licensed marriage & family therapist & registered drama therapist working with elders. She brings 10 years of experience to her role as Director of The Hummingbird Project & co-creator of Joyful Moments: Meaningful Activities to Engage Older Adults. Kari is a current doctoral student at Saybrook University specializing in creativity studies and gerontology.

For more information contact:
Helen Abel at
or Jill Battalen at

Developing Our
Professional Performances

Saturdays, April 25, May 2, May 9, May 16
10:30am-12pm PT | 1:30pm-3pm ET
via Zoom Videoconference

This short term, four-week Life Performance Coaching group supports participants to meet the challenge of growing in their professional lives. 

The group will work with difficult questions that come up throughout our professional lives, such as, how are we heard, how do we lead, and how do we work with the people around us. Led by Raquell Holmes, the group has a particular focus on how we lead and build relationships at work.

Dr. Holmes has developed her practice over nearly 30 years to bring performance and social therapeutics to professionals in diverse fields. She has coached professionals at different moments in their careers to develop powerful, confident and compassionate performances at work. She is dedicated to helping people create developmental performances in all aspects of their lives.

To see if the group is a match for you, contact Raquell Holmes at