The therapeutic creative process begins when a patient enters my office. The environment that we work in reflects a piece of our own artistry and, by extension, offers a holding and safe environment to the patient. The aesthetics of the décor becomes a mirror, as well as an extension of the therapist. Let me offer a thumbnail sketch of my own office as it welcomes a patient.
Earthy hues of gold, brown, and red ochre provide the holding environment that best suits my temperament. Paintings on the wall resonate and vibrate with a spirit that permeates my work. The Paintings are rich in color and are spiritual in nature. I am held by a juxtaposition of softness and firmness, as well as offering an invitation to enter into this atmosphere.
In therapy, patients and therapists alike are engaged in finding the artist within themselves. The therapeutic process for patients is an ongoing challenge to discover the true parts of themselves, Indeed, we are a fabric of many selves that interface with one another. The object of treatment is to make the inside reality congruent with a living outer reality. Together, patient and therapist create a matrix in which verbal and nonverbal communications come alive as both parties are touched by a common experience. This complicated mode of interaction takes on a form similar to a symphony or work of art, where multiple levels of consciousness and meaning exist simultaneously.
In many respects therapeutic communication can be likened to an aesthetic experience. When I speak of aesthetics, I am referring to making the inanimate animate, giving form to diffuse energy and ideas and breathing life into sterile communications. Communication is a key word here, for a completed work of any medium becomes art only when it touches us as a living truth. This happens when it is an authentic expression of the artist/patient.
The key concepts that characterize my work are authenticity, structure and freedom, safety and stimulation, and a respect for individual difference in our approach to a relationship. Our work is one of maintaining the flow of communication and when it ceases, we attempt to rediscover the life and soul of our meaning.
I have been in practice for over 50 years, and have been exposed to a number of therapeutic challenges. My practice is divided between therapy and supervision. I also provide time to paint and sculpt. I hold to no theoretical position though I am steeped in a good deal of theoretical depth oriented therapy. This organization remains in my gut as I constantly strive to become present with my patients and stay out of my head. The discipline that I present remains in my body and manifests its-self in a here and now interaction.
I work out of the box and remain eclectic in my theoretical base. Yet I have a deep respect for structure while maintaining a humanistic and open perspective to a therapeutic relationship. What evolves between a patient and myself, hopefully, will have some surprises and mystery. Change occurs as we become familiar with our life story. Many make dramatic moves in their life without truly becoming cognizant of their choices. Much of success in therapy occurs in the chemistry, between the two participants, therapy then can move in many directions: a drama, a spiritual quest, an interpersonal mastery, an intra-psychic struggle or a new and different figure and ground.