Sometimes I feel moved to participate in the directive with an art therapy group, either with an example or by making my own art response. This is a rare but rewarding happenstance and I always learn something. On this particular day I made a masked, painted example about food and feelings. I didn’t know why. Turns out to be a huge lesson on boundaries and group dynamics. Here’s what happened when I finished and taped mine on the wall. F taped her painting up so it overlapped mine. It overlapped /covered up “food”, part of my title. Not only did I notice the boundary violation, I also saw that she was oblivious of her intrusion. When I pointed it out to her she admitted that she hadn’t seen it.
This woman did with her painting what she does with everything in her life. Because she is used to enmeshed relationships and boundary-less in her life she is intrusive and will invade your space, man. She is unaware that she does this. It makes sense then that she know no limits with alcohol or drugs, gets completely lost in men and hangs her art on top of someone else’s.
Eating Disorders may be viewed as boundary failure; evidence of a loss of control in relationship with food. Ironically, ED patients are under the illusion that food is the one thing they can control. Do you love it that she covered the word “food”? No problems with food here!
THIS MAY BE WHERE IT ENDS!
Some possible interventions:
Boundary failure this epic suggests a sick family system; one where secrets and addiction and abuse are the norm. Family of origin therapy and trauma therapy will help release her age-old childhood story so she may grieve it and lay it down.
Working the 12 Steps of AA with a sponsor is a coming of age experience for those stunted developmentally and socially by addictions.
She did not finish the individuation process and can acquire the skills she needs. (DBT for example)
Old School alcoholics will tell her to stay out of relationships for at least a year. A lot of what she is looking for will not come from men (or drugs or food.)
Address the physical needs of the body through nutrition and body centered modalities such as yoga, massage and dance.
Develop a daily spiritual practice. That’s where all healing ultimately comes from.