My favorite part of art therapy (this week!) is The Metaphor, the way the process and the product contain the meaning or the message from the unconscious. Apart from the plan or the actual subject matter of the art even. Well, The Metaphor blasted me this week! Read on.
This is a non invasive, fun, get-to-know-you art therapy directive. It’s great for first sessions, icebreakers, name learning – that kind of thing. It’s impossible to mess up and requires no talent or training. I made this one…First I spelled out my name in bubble letters along the folded spine of a piece of white paper. I pressed down hard enough to get a corresponding mirror drawing on the other half, which I traced. Then I used sharpies to color my name into this “jassy” drawing. Now here’s the Metaphor part. Even tho it was my project, my idea and my name it took me 3 tries to “get it right” . Group was patient with me and my botched demonstration and then I realized that I HAVE CHANGED MY NAME 3 TIMES! My first name from Jan to Jas and my last name to Walters and now Milam. 1,2,3 tries. 1,2,3 names. Breathtaking example of metaphor brought to me today through art. While I can’t show other folk’s name art (confidentiality) once we started looking for The Metaphor in these cool pieces we saw that the individual with bipolar disorder (and coincidentally binge/purge food issues) made a colorful name and a black and white name, the person who tends to disassociate put her names far apart and the healthy individual had a nice balance of expression and containment!