Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Experientials Vol. 28

Well let's just say today was a very intense experience to say the least. In fact I am a little shy of putting some of this out there, and am not even sure I will have the guts until I finally hit publish post... It is personal and I am scared of sharing it, but I think that it is such a testament to art and the therapy...

So here is one of our warmup pieces. It was fingerpaints, which was an amazing regression. We painted to music and it was interesting to see how the piece evolved over the 10 minutes or so that we painted it. I felt the paint between my fingers and under my nails, it was so smooth and it was nice to be in physical contact with the materials. It doesn't really look like much of anything, but it was really a great experience

We had put a piece of paper up under this finger paint and when we removed it, there was a ghost image, or where our smaller painting had went outside the boundaries as well any stray marks we had made. I am a messy painter so there were a lot of stray marks. We were asked to look at this ghost image and free associate and then create a much larger piece again to music. Well I saw a kiss in the palm print that I had left, some claw marks that were where I wiped paint off my finger and then the white box where my painting had been. This is what emerged. Again, it doesn't look like much but it was a very tactile experience

And this is the one that hit home. This painting is by a process called core painting in which it is a very cognitive experience and you are supposed to let your psyche paint what needs to be painted even if you do not want to paint it or if you think it will be ugly. In fact you have dialogs with the painting and the facilitator (in this case the professor) would help you ask the painting questions when you are stuck. It is supposed to bring out unconscious material and you are not supposed to have to share the story behind what it brings out. Now I am a firm believer in art therapy and about it getting to the trauma, also about unconscious material emerging, but I was not prepared for this. So I am painting and first I paint horizontal lines that are blues and then a black bottom. So then I was compelled to use red paint and for some reason had an image of blood dripping, and so I added this to the black and made a small red blob above it. At this point I thought that I had ruined the piece and called the facilitator over. We dialogged with the piece and I knew that the next addition was to be the yellow circle in the corner. I then felt compelled to add on to the red blob and it grew became a larger red blob. I then added the orange horizontal lines in the blackness. When I took a look at what I had drawn I saw something that shocked me, and scared me. I saw my trauma represented in front of me, burning and bleeding. I am not sure what else would have emerged from this piece, for our session was cut short. We will continue to work on it next week, but now I am left with a traumatic, somewhat sexual and vulgar image that quite frankly brought to the surface events that I would just as soon forget. So there it is, the power of art therapy... it can sometimes be scary... but if I had been in a session, it certainly would have brought to the forefront issues that I may need to talk about, or reconcile in a newly developed fashion. I have never painted about this quite so literally, though I often painted the lack of self-esteem I was left with afterwards. It was quite shocking to have it present itself in this manner, and so clearly, visibly and somewhat eloquently. I would like to think that the yellow orb is the sun and that it is a symbol for new beginnings and rising above this and beyond this trauma. I would like to hope.

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