“Sometimes I dreamt of time immemorial
Pulsing through my veins
Every seond pulled at my heart
And whispering softly
In my skin.” Helen Edwards, 2010
At the heart of Integrative Arts Psychotherapy dwells an art making process. Non-verbal imaginative communications are key to the emergence of new experience, growing feeling sense of oneself, atmosphere of the therapeutic relationship and perceptions of the world around. The creative process whether in making visual artistic imagery, sound, movement, nature installation or sculpture offers a vessel enhancing the potential of psychotherapy. Engaging with the artist within can help each person to find, gain confidence and believe in their own creativity, imagination, capacity to engage in meaninful authentic relationships and experience themselves fully in contact with all aspets of ecology of the world around.
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung
An image may elicit many meanings, perceptions, feelings and deeply held beliefs, all of which have been poured in, the image becoming a safe containing place for them. Reflecting on such images may deepen understanding, bring new meaning and build belief in oneself and resources. Through the process of making, a way is created for feelings, previously felt to be unbearable, to be born, seen, thought about and understood, people may make visible their inner world stories in an imaginative space. Feelings previously felt to be unbearable such as loss, grief, shame, fear, lostness or loss of hope may arise to be consciously felt, enbling a new philosophy of living with mystery and possibility to emerge.
“When we create something ourselves we are attempting to reorganise our own inner experience.” Anthony Storr
Fears about relationships with others may reflect attachment patterns based on past trauma. Developing a trusting relationship with another human and other aspects of the natural world may offer opportunity to grasp these. Therapist and client, parent and/or child, become engaged in creative activities together, relating to all aspects of ecology, stimulating new emotional connections and challenging old patterns of belief. New experiences of trust in another and in oneself may bring new relational capacities and transform lives.
Sensing resonance and rhythm, integral to attunement with others and the world, begin early, hearing being the first sense to develop at 4 months in the womb. From birth, improvisation exploring tone, harmony, rhythm and frequency can help bonding and play, enhancing trust, wellbeing and vitality. Finding attunement to distress and new experiences of being understood are vital to establishing new harmonies in life.
Supporting parents and children to build reliable experiences of attunement and trust may help alleviate difficulties of previous developmental stages, strengthen belief and build reliability into relationships, the world and the future.
Movement and play offer vital access the body’s natural self-regulating systems, there may be gentle restoration of emotional regulation, balance and sense of self as creative, worthy and lovable, and relationships as life enhancing.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
I have an MA and Post Grad Dip in Integrative Arts Psychotherapy (Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education, IATE, 2002, UKCP reg) and trained in Parent Infant Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the School of Infant Mental Health and with the Post Adoption Centre. I have trained in an Ecopsychology Approach and have set up Ecotherapy Oxford with a group of colleagues.
I work with adults, parents and children, families and groups indoors and outdoors. I am based in Oxford. No previous arts experience is necessary.