Monday, April 12, 2010

Focusing and Expressive Art Therapy

This weekend I taught a Level Four Focusing and Expressive Art Therapy workshop. One of the exercises we explored through art making and Focusing, started with an attunement to lightly, gently touch in with a part of us that may be holding traumatic memories, sensations and or feelings. The group experienced through Focusing, the regulatory capacity to be there for this part of them. Staying Present for themselves, staying with the experience as it unfolded moment by moment and developing the capability to give complete, unconditional regard to their wounded or traumatized part or parts helped regulate and allowed these parts to move into fresh experiencing. Our neurobiology and our interpersonal relations create a sense of our well-being. 

In Focused Centered Art Therapy we are working with attuning our relationship with ourselves and our parts and healing our attachment that may have been severed due to trauma.  The interpersonal attunement that is felt and experienced during Focusing then can be witnessed when it is expressed and carried further in art making. The attunement and resonance that happens in a Focusing Session between a therapist and client, as well as the attunement that the client feels with him/herself is carried one step further when the client expresses this attunement through paint, clay or other means. The attunement which is integral to healing is now also felt in the creative expression that the client has experienced. This consonant relationship between therapist/client, client/self, client/creative self provides stability and safety, such that the client can be with difficult, painful feelings in a way they have not experienced before.  They are able for the first time to feel a sense of “Self” and “Someone There”, as well as, but separate from, a sensation or feeling.  There is a “Me” and a “Something.”  Where once they were merged with the experience, there is now a refreshing sense of a whole person and an experience.  In the attuned therapeutic relationship, there is also the sense of alliance with another who can simply “be with” our experience in Presence, which allows life forward movement to occur.
 Art work done in workshop by students.                                                                                                


Elena said...

Oh how freeing. That first one really reminds me of an angel.

Karen Wallace said...

Elena, It is so wonderful to work this big when painting. These pieces where 5 feet long. Warmly, Karen


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