Building resilience following a family suicide
Anne-Marie completed five sessions of Arts Psychotherapy following her brother's suicide. Anne-Marie's goal was to feel more resilient. The process that unfolded for Anne-Marie, in online sessions, was as follows:
Session 1 - We got to know the problem through visual art. Anne-Marie prepared for our work together through buying an A3 sketchbook and some oil pastilles. We discvered the overall story through an image of wheat being tied in the middle. This evolved into deeper meaning, shedding light on how Anne-Marie felt.
Session 2 - We stepped back and took a look at the whole story, through mapping the whole family system. This revealed how unsupported Anne-Marie felt in the dynamic. Anne-Marie got to witness this. We brought in a next level of support, what she saw as her higher self with its wisdom. The session finished with Anne-Marie feeling far more settled.
Session 3 - A symbol of this greater support happened naturally as Anne-Marie's childhood teddy. This much loved toy popped up in therapy revealing a great deal of cognitive and emotional meaning and deepened appreciation of the family story in surprising ways.
Session 4 - Session 4 was spent gathering tools in Anne-Marie's life, which help her being resilient. A key discovery was many of these resources were in nature and readily available.
Session 5 - This final session involved a ritual, carefully planned, to take Anne-Marie from one state to another. This ritual included a song (Katy Perry Fireworks), specific movements and symbolism.
Anne-Marie found therapy a success in meeting her goal of feeling more resillient and, importantly, being able to take this progress into her daily life. Anne -Marie described her therapy as 'being touched by a little bit of magic'. This magic is not uncommon in Arts Psychotherapy., arising from clients experiencing a new dialog with themselves, including previously unconscious information, through active imagination, thinking viisually and thus engaging the whole brain (logical, symbolic, physical).
Making a positive contribution at work in a way I find stimulating
Edward decided to complete a course of five arts psychotheapy sessions when he found himself getting so stressed out each day in his new job he could not think straight. Taling about it - or thinking about it - was not helping. His anxiety would become panic attacks without warning.
Session 1 - As is generally the case, we first took a look at the probl em with visual art, using oil pastilles. An explosion resulted. We worked with this image for the whole session. This gave important 'witnessing' to Edward's previously orivate pain.
Session 2 - We continued with visual art. Edward created two drawings: what he had expected in the job and how it actually was. The key distinction was a cellular image. One was well and had intrinsic integraity and balance. The other was, amongst many things, unwell.
Session 3 - Because this was such a visceral experience for Edward, we employed finger painting in session 3. Edward looked at the situation working, not working and then completed a third picture connecting the two states. In this, he found flow and experience some mindul peace in the moment.
Session 4 - This flow led to more mindful time in nature between sessions and the writing of a Haiku Poem, revealing how Edward had moved on.
Session 5 - Our final session involved the construction of the situation presented in the picture on the left. Detailed processing from all angles revealed meaning. The final take-home wosdom for Edward was he was much more capable of 'climbing the challenges' life was presenting through being consistent in his engagement with nature.
More than a year later, walking mindfully in nature has become the key thing Edward does to undertake the self-care he needs in conjunction with stressful work. He has also gained enough confidence to change jobs and is now much happier. The outcome was fairly straightforward and one could argue Edward could have started with this practical life habit. But he had to go through the deep feelings of overwhelm, and even perceived failure, to come through to a space where he would not only listen to his body's innate wisdom but act on it - consistently.