So some of you may know I’m having art therapy. This may create an impression that I am creating elaborate images of my conflicts and problems. I know some people can engage in art therapy in this way.
But it’s not like that for me. For me, the work is about being to express myself in any way at all in the presence of someone I don’t entirely trust yet.
Today I went in angry, frustrated with my inability to control my life, to do what I want to do.
We talked about that a little, then she suggested we try some art making, using watercolour, which is hard to control.
She gave me a brush, and brought over a piece of paper, and moved some water near me. I picked up the brush and dipped it in the water. She suggested we make marks just with water, so they wouldn’t last. I still hesitated. She asked if she could hold my brush with me. And slowly, together, we began to put water on the paper. Sometimes she was directing the brush, sometimes I was. This brought up such a mixture of feelings in me I couldn’t speak, and had to stop.
Then I just went really small. There’s no other way to describe it. I was rocking in my seat, and then suddenly taken over by shaking. She gave me a cushion to hold onto and I clutched it for dear life. She asked if I felt scared or sad and I heard a high pitched, childish voice say “Both”. I felt like I wanted to cry, except I don’t know how to cry.
She kept talking, in her soft voice, reminding me where I was, and that I was safe, while I rocked and shook.
Then the session was approaching its end, and she started to bring me back to the present, to an adult self who was able to leave, and carry on with life. “I don’t want to go”, I said. And I didn’t, I wanted to stay with her, with her voice and her acceptance, and the sense of safety she offered.
“Yes, it’s hard to stick to timings”, she said, “but I will be here next week, and I will be here for as long as you want me and need me”. And I was able to come back, to hand her the cushion, to say good bye and thank you, and walk out the door.
That’s the kind of art therapy I’m doing.