Playing Along the Porous Edge of Chaos Discipline: Pathways to the Creative Analytic Process: Psychoanalytic Inquiry, Vol. 32, No. 3, 2012
There is no one therapeutic truth. The spiraling pictures of death, fear, regeneration and emotional sharings of love, find their mix in every clinical experience and ultimately impacts upon our perceptions. The split of hate and love becomes an important feature in preventing a creative clinical process. Splitting of affects can be observed in all the clinical examples that are offered throughout the paper. In any creative work, knowing how and when to face obstacles that interfere with creativity becomes the decision of each analytic artist.
Dancing on Blood, Jessica Kingsley distributor. London and Bristol Pennsylvania: 2000
In brief focused art therapy, the patient lives out her life theme: follow your spirit by living on the edge. Her mother, a holocaust survivor, holds on to her daughter with a silent scream, and the therapeutic question soon enters the picture: can you dance and follow your soul when the ground is covered with blood? In this moving dialogue, principles of art therapy treatment are elaborated and brought to life.
Available only in VHS
The Magic Garbage Can: Thanatos and Transformation: The Arts and Psychotherapy, Vol. 32, 2005
The will to live and die is a universal struggle that can encompass ones deepest fears regarding death, annihilation and non-existence. On the most profound level, psychotherapy touches upon this existential struggle between the will to live and the will to die. Some people respond by burying this conflict beneath an array of complex defenses. Others maintain a deep silence regarding the struggle and hold on to what they have for fear of falling into the abyss of the unknown. However the polarities of life and death have the potential to combine and explode. This explosion manifests itself by a profound engagement with the struggle between the will to live and die. For some individuals, this experience is called enlightenment, for others, it is described as the discovery of God or faith, and, for the poet or artist, it may be referred to as the experience of transcendence.
This paper weaves into a fabric such issues as attachment theory to transcendence, birth, and rebirth. I discuss the clinical as well as personal struggles that center around the vortex of life and death. Finally, I address the pain of human existence and the search for a container that holds both light and imperfection.
A Field/Energy Approach:
A Field/Energy Approach to Expressive Therapy Through a Symbolic Dialogue: The Arts in Psychotherapy, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2000
From the above considerations, we arrive at our central thesis, namely, that there is a great and vast variety of human perceptual fields, or life spaces, and that understanding this diversity is central to creating a therapeutic space in the treatment process. We often encounter patients whose life space is rigidified in its symbolic expression. The outside life seems to be a far cry from the inside manifestations. In short who and what they appear to be has little to do with their inner resources. Our professional work, then, is to facilitate a growing symbolic complexity within each patient. In this process, we attempt to release our patients from stereotyped concepts. We search for the patient’s center, or where the soul or source of energy lives. When we tap into the patient’s source of energy, we find the potential to integrate the inside and the outside. In the past, this source has been largely overlooked or distorted. As expressive therapists, we need to offer developmental experiences and a dynamic interchange that is congruent with our outside source of symbols. In each therapeutic interchange we encourage a growing process of identification that transforms meaning and being into action, aiming to enhance who and what we are.
In the best of therapeutic endeavors, we are constantly rebalancing the space in between. Often, the rebalancing is not a conscious act. When we are grounded and present, decisions are made from a mind-body wholeness, marked by an emotional attunement to constant change in the therapeutic situation. Being grounded, and responding to our patients with our center, is essential to our availability to receive and mirror back communications that rebalance the therapeutic field. Thus, if the patient is too responsive to the outside, we offer opportunities for inside exploration. If there is too much holding of the ground, hanging on for security, we offer possibilities to spiral upwards and the experience of exuberance and letting go. This new rebalancing happens best when the therapist is truly present, responding from the guts and heart rather than the head. Yet although the rebalancing is not an intellectual process, neither is one mindless in this interaction. The mind-body integration makes the process extremely emotionally related, which furthers thoughtful reflection. Meaning arises from our experience of the bridge in between the three participants: patient, modality and therapist, fueled by the soul of each and framed by the encounter.
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