November 10, 2016
I presented my most recent art work a few days ago to my year group on the art psychotherapy course. Not an easy task when I have felt creatively blocked over the past 6 months. I eventually sat down to make some art about a month ago, thinking ironically about being uninspired. Over the summer I felt a sense of blankness, although there was also an undercurrent of things that I needed to process. I had several conversations about identity in therapy, and being unsure of my own changing identity on this course. Not feeling solid. Of course I know that identity is something that changes throughout a lifetime, this didn’t stop me feeling afraid however, and unsettled by my own sense of uncertainty. I started by recording myself speaking, then writing some of the words into a new sketchbook and adding paint and collage. I was aware of wanting to strip back my work- rather than using my usual bright colours that can sometimes be overkill. I then used the art in a film, overlaying images of water to suggest fluidity and change. In art therapy water is often seen as symbolic of the unconscious. I also filmed the view of Stratford from our new flat, the trains, cars and lights of the city in the distance. The suggestion of journeys and change.
September 8, 2016
The past year has been an incredible journey, but it has also been a personally challenging and difficult time. Training as a therapist means noticing and thinking about my own psychological defences, as well as thinking about clinical theory in relation to others. Being in my own personal therapy which can be uncomfortable and frustrating as well as helpful in the long run. Training and continuing my work at the hospital was exhausting, I was so tired that the summer break was about resting and healing. I hoped to do some making over the summer but truthfully I felt uninspired, I allowed myself this time. Speaking to a friend I said that I felt I needed to withdraw for a while. In the last few months I have moved house and changed job, but now things feel more settled I hope to start making again.
In the moving process I decided to let go of some of my old sketchbooks, many of them were full of memories of studying my first degree. All of the fun we had and the passion I felt for art. I realised however that in order to make something new, I needed to downsize my sketchbook collection. I felt that keeping all of them was like keeping older parts of myself, it was time to renew and let go. A scary but exciting thought.
I managed to fit the sketchbooks that I am keeping in this box.
I also went through the art work that I made in the experiential group as part of the course and photographed it. The group was important to me and helped me to think about difficult issues over the year.
Being an Island
War and Racism
Fluid Boundaries- Feeling Overwhelmed
Therapist Trying to Reach Their Client
Therapists Touching on Depression
Tiara of Qualified Therapist
May 30, 2016
Since leaving my job I’ve been very busy over the last few weeks. I’m coming to the end of my first year of the Masters in Art Psychotherapy, I’ve been involved with community arts running a collage workshop at Wandsworth Common Station, in an exhibition on Bethnal Green Road, as well as working in the ceramics studio at university. I thought that I’d post a few photos from the last few weeks to let you all know what I’ve been up to!
This is a flyer that I made which was posted around the station to attract people to get involved in the workshop. As you can see in the images below it was very busy and lots of fun for all involved. I was amazed with the work that both the adults and children made. We will definitely have to do something similar in the future.
This was me in the image below painting the bottom edges of my canvases…very last minute I know. I was glad to see my work in the gallery environment and to engage with the public at both the exhibition opening and while I was invigilating.
My friends came for the private view and brought chocolates and flowers for me which was a lovely surprise!
Below is a picture of a solid clay sculpture that I made of my head, I used this to make a plaster cast which means I can make as many heads as I want (both an exciting and a frightening thought). I hollowed this out a few days ago so I could fire it later, I am interested in the process of transformation at the moment, and this process in ceramics as a metaphor for change in therapy.
April 30, 2016
April 29, 2016
Yesterday I finished my last day at the psychiatric hospital, I decided a few months ago that I needed to find more of a work life balance, and that I wanted some space to think about everything I’m learning on the course. While I know that it was the right decision, it didn’t make it an easy one. Working as part of a team has been an amazing experience, I have been privileged to be part of so many people’s recoveries in the last 2 years and 9 months. I am excited for the future and for the moment I’m still embracing the experience of training and becoming an art psychotherapist. I intend to be posting more of what I’m up to now as I will have a little more time over the summer.
I’m excited to introduce my artist website, and also to let people know that I will be exhibiting some of my work in Bethnal Green next month. Watch this space! Here are some images of doodles that I did in the hospital art room, and a picture of me with a past group project.
October 26, 2015
Since beginning my course in Art Psychotherapy last month I haven’t posted on this blog as I have been so busy! It is such an exciting time and I feel that I’m in a real period of transition- which is both liberating and terrifying! Last week we were asked to do some reading about supervision in Art Psychotherapy practice and to make an artistic response to a particular chapter. It was fascinating to see how we all focused on different aspects of the text, and to see the large variety of work produced in the class. In my own pieces I explored more generally the idea of difficult and intense material that we may encounter as therapists, and how this material may be contained in the frame of the supervisory space, and beyond this through the clinical supervision received by the supervisor. My chaotic images are a metaphor for this, in this case all is contained within the limits of the paper. We may idealise our supervisor or (personal therapist within our own experience of therapy) as ‘the rescuer’ and this is something to be aware of- is this also a standard that we set for ourselves in our own work?
September 21, 2015
On Saturday I helped to run (and took part in) another art group with my local mental health charity, my co-facilitator had recently been on a meditation retreat and used this to inspire our project. For 10 minutes we listened to a track of meditative music and tried to visualise a scene or journey. The process was difficult to begin with and it was difficult to see anything, after a few minutes however the images came more easily to me. Towards the end of the meditation I could just see colours and shapes and this was quite vivid. Other people in the group also had a similar experience in seeing colours, the sound of birds chirping made us think of nature and of exotic landscapes. We were then encouraged to make a sculpture using clay and painted the art work there and then. Each of the sculptures were vastly different and gave a short glimpse into the imagination and personal journey of each creator. Below are some images of the piece I made.