Two stories: what should I create now?
A toddler asks her kindergarten teacher: what should I draw now?
What does her question mean?
It seems that she needs help and thinks the correct answer is in the world somewhere, not within herself. Her teacher knows what she should do and not her.
This is very sad.
Would she ask how to play with the dolls, build with blocks, or dig in the sandbox? Probably not.
An adult answer, such as drawing trees or painting your family, is a left-brain answer; the cognitive brain provides cause and effect and accurate answers.
How will I react to such a situation?
I suggest stimulating the right brain, the intuitive brain. I will ask her to look at her palms: “Look what wise hands you have! Ten fingers that know how to knead and paint, dig and caress, take food, cut and hold, and so much more. Look at them and ask them: What do you want to do now? What do you feel like touching? Do you want to knead? Cut? Collect? Listen to them quietly, and they will answer you.”
The right brain inspires the imagination to be fully present. The process will then arise authentically from the girl’s inner world.
This is the first session with a new client in my studio.
He shares what brings him to art therapy. I am looking for an opportunity to get to know him through an encounter with materials.
I would like to learn and experience what his hands choose. What are they thinking?
I invite him to rummage through drawers and boxes on the shelves and select something: “It can be material for creation, and it can also be a choice of objects that speak to you. Just put them on the table. You don’t have to do anything with them.”
In my experience, what is placed on the table will accurately enrich what is said; even if we do not yet know all the meanings and do not talk about it, it will unfold much later as it holds within a poetic truth.
What does the response to the girl and the client have in common?
Both proposals speak to the right brain. They speak to the imagination and creative and emotional parts of our personality, not achievement-oriented and cognitive aspects.
Our hands are smart and ancient and speak the truth. They know what we yearn for and impartially choose what we need most, even if we do not know how to verbalize it.
They express the depth of our souls.
Such a choice of the right brain in the body and hands provokes deep joy.