Art For Personal Change
Are You Looking For Change?
- Access to your joy and creativity
- help with a decision about career orrelocation?
- help to resolve conflict or repeating patterns in your relationships?
- help with grief, anxiety, depression or long standing trauma?
- help with building a team?
I have developed a blend of Art Psychotherapy and Process Oriented Psychology that:
- gets you to essential questions
- uncovers and amplifies emerging change
- deals with critics and resistances, and
- helps you map and implement the way forward
Yes, this IS psycho-therapy! In the deepest sense psyche means Soul and Therapy comes from the Greek work for paying attention. Together we pay attention to your Soul, aka all that you are, both consciously and unconsciously.
You can book a session at the bottom of the page. I am also avaliable via Zoom online and phone, worldwide.
ART FOR PERSONAL CHANGE: HOW DOES IT WORK?
My work offers you the chance to address your concerns through:
- paper or card
- wire, sticks and found items
- sand and objects
- the exploration of dreams
- dramatic enactment
- simple music making and/or dance
- nature observation
- and the chance to track somatic experiences with awareness.
You may choose any of these media or only one or two and I may make suggestions. You can also work further at home.
All of these media engage your imagination and creativity. They offer you chances to explore emerging possibilities, to reflect on them and choose what you want to bring into your every day life.
You can expect surprises! More energy, deep feeling, laughter and often tears and more confidence to live the way you want to and to make the differences only you can make.
SOME THEORY (optional)
Process Oriented Psychology talks about preferred “channels” or ways of perceiving and relating to the world.
We all experience and explain the world in different ways, and we unfold our experiences in different ways. Some of this is truly unique to us as individuals. Some of it though is culturally conditioned and/orabout our habitual ways of communicating.
Our preferred “channels” will be one, perhaps two of these:
- Visual – We see keenly. We process visual information on whiteboards and computers easily and often do well at school because of this. We may have a sense for colour, design or be good at photography or science. We may dream vividly and use expressions such as, “I see,” meaning, “Yes I get it. I understand.”
- Auditory – We hear acutely. We may be musical. We hear nuances; we may speak several languages. We may become broad-castors, journalists, singers or public speakers. We may be poets or like to tell stories. We may say, “Yes, I hear you,” meaning, “Yes, I get it. I understand.”
- Movement – We tend to move our bodies around and gesture with our hands. Sitting still in school may have been difficult but we know how to respond to an emergency, perhaps as a nurse or paramedic. We can dance, catch a ball, and know exactly when to cast a net or how long to stir the soup. We are often natural sports people. We literally know how to, “go with the flow,” and where our team member will be 10 seconds later. If we express ourselves verbally our words may be accompanied by a shrug, or a turning away or towards others. We often leave it to others to put things in words and gesture to say, “Yes, I get it. I understand.”
- Somatic (sometimes called proprioceptive) – We feel everything! The world is taken in and we learn to notice our feeling responses. Ah, I feel so uncomfortable here, this situation gives me a stomachache or a headache, or I am exhilarated or suddenly extremely tired. We sometimes do not know what belongs to us(our responses) and what belongs to the other. We have usually not been well understood at school and our talents may have been overlooked, in part because it is difficult to put what we experience into words, and when we do, others have often moved on. We may be good at making things, with carpentry, instrument making, sewing, cooking, the arts, massage,with teaching young children, or caregiving anywhere our somatic and relational sensitivity is needed.We may also be good at sports although not necessarily team sports. We tend to be empathic and may say, “Yes, perhaps…my feeling is…” meaning, “Yes, I get it. I understand.”
The idea in this work is that what we normally know will be expressed in one or two familiar channels. I will affirm you and join,to the extent I can, in trying to appreciate your perspective.The “channels” of communication you use the most are not the only ones you have!
It’s just you are most familiar with only one or two. Yourleft brain uses your preferred “channels” to structure the way you experience your life and to screen out other possibilities so that you are not overwhelmed by the flow of possibilities.
When you need to grow, however, you need to let in information via other channels! Typically what is just emerging from the unconsciouswill quite naturallycome via a different channel.
The strongly somatic person will usually be helped by making images and then telling stories…the predominantly auditory, story telling person may be helped by work with symbolic images, and then role playing with what emerges…the person oriented to movement may need to dance or play drums to reach their feelings and then create a story, the visual person may need to make their images more vividly colourful to access feelings…or to map their somatic experiences…these are just some possibilities.
Mindell also talks about “field” channels that belong to us all and these include “relationship” and “world channels” which encompass experiences that two or more people experience together, and synchronicities when the outer world seems to affirm a process. For example we make an emphatic gesture and someone slams a door in the room down the corridor! We express how grateful we are feeling and a dove flies up to the windowsill…
World issues such as climate change, loss of species, war, poverty, racism, inequality, sexism, and issues to do with gender and sexual orientation also impact on everyone, whether or not they are part of our known biography, and these too tend to come up as we consider how to step forward. One of the results of Art for Personal Change is that we tend to re-connect to the wider world and our part in it.
My work is to agree with you on an area of enquiry and to help you explore and then reflect on your experiences.
I notice both what is emerging (or some of it!) and what already makes sense to you and can be used immediately.
Sometimes. Often! You will come to an “edge.” Your everyday personality just does not yet want to know about the scary, the monstrous, the wonderful or the divine. No, no you say, this cannot be me!
It’s my job to make this “sort of” OK! We fear because there was once, or may still be reasons to fear. And then I help you find that part of self that is courageous and willing to see, hear, feel, move and be moved by what is emerging. Gradually these new capacities become familiar strengths within your own personality that you know you can call upon to make practical changes. Just as a skilled tradesperson knows how to tackle a new project within their own area of expertise, you too develop skills in becoming the person you have the innate capacity to be.
You can do Art for Personal Change individually, as a couple or in a workshop. In a workshop you will do your own work but also witness the work of others. This can be astonishing!
One story I can tell from an early workshop I facilitated in a rural setting in NZ is of a petite and elegantly dressed lady, probably in her fifties, who became curious about the red in her painting (visual channel). At my suggestion she amplified this red making a series of bigger and bigger red paintings. She grew flushed and excited (somatic channel) and when I asked who or what could live in this fiery red, she immediately said, “A fire imp!” She then giggled and said she was just such a fire imp when it came to “lighting fires under the chairs of bureaucrats!” She was a headmistress and what she had contacted in herself was her own passion for the country children she worked with, her desire for them to have the same opportunities and resources as children in urban areas, and her impatience with decisions made in the capital city (world channel). She ended with a resolve to seek election to a national board that would enable her to negotiate a better deal for country kids. In so doing she also expanded her sense of self and her abilities.
All of us are limited! Facilitators too. I am really open though to whatever philosophy, religion or world-view makes sense to you. I’m a cis-gender, heterosexual woman past 60, with adult children, grandchildren, and many personal and professional relationships. I teach, make art, dance and write poetry. I’m also a New Zealand woman of Anglo Celtic heritage living in Australia. I have experienced loves and losses, travel, learning and change.
To me meeting is the great adventure!
And a footnote: Those of you that have done some Jungian work will think, “This is Active Imagination” and indeed it is. Arny Mindell was originally a Jungian training analyst but was also influenced by Systems and Communications theories and by Taoism. My own work is also deeply informed by Jung, but you need not have studied psychology, or any form of art to participate!
I want you to know this is the very best therapy I have ever done.
Senior Lecturer, Christchurch, NZ
I am still excited by how deep this went and how much fun I had. I now have the courage to move forward with my creative pursuits and my new business.
Accountant, Artist and Entrepreneur, Perth, Aus.
I discovered a disowned part of myself and found the gold!
Miriam, Research Fellow, Perth Aus.
Art Therapy underpinned every other course I did here at RNC (The Recovery Network Centre). It’s been a very significant part of my Recovery Journey.
Office Administrator in recovery from complex PTSD
Art Therapy is so very confronting, in your face! And very amazing. Revisiting my childhood and understanding my reaction to all the addiction in my family and how we coped or didn’t, was a great help. I learned so much about myself. Thank you.
Former nurse diagnosed with severe anxiety