What is the core of art therapy in Corona times?
Can therapy it be exercised from afar?
Here are a few thoughts and a self-help tool for art therapists during Corona times.
When someone in the world holds me in their mind, and I have faith in it, I feel that I genuinely exist. This is what our clients feel when they are held in our minds. It is a quality of the permission experience. Permission to be who they are.
The therapist represents the role of the mother as a carrier of memories of life in the studio, of stories being told, and of actions being executed upon the materials. The therapist, too, aims to be in a reverie state of mind so that they can be best attuned to the needs of their clients.
Moreover, as therapists, we are the memory keepers of the baby/client, and we carry it in the days to come. The studio, in turn, holds us both as a womb, and for that matter, the studio is a fine co-therapist.
These days, in Corona-times, as the range of signals we usually have from our clients engaging in their art is unavailable, we need to adjust to different ways of communicating with them, perhaps through the internet.
I may send a text message to my client, such as: How are you these days? Would you like to meet online? Or, I’m sending you a photo of a view that reminds me of you…
Such signals are based are on my ability to hold the client in my mind and be a memory keeper. Nevertheless, reaching out needs to be attuned to the needs of our clients.
This can not be derived from my anxiety or my need to “feed.”
It will be different with each person, regarding quantity, style, and whether to do it at all. It isn’t technical, it is the precision in the heart of therapy.
It seems to me that this is now a valuable learning process for art therapists. We are used to long stretches of silence and art-making, now we need to make some adjustments. Perhaps meet on the internet.
This will also affect our professional learning in the days following the crisis.
Thus, I suggest writing a diary regarding this internal process, the different dialogues we have with our clients, and the therapists we supervise. I recommend relating to what I am thinking, feeling, and doing, including dating each writing. This will accumulate into a fascinating therapy diary (in a table, perhaps?). You can also draw next to the entries, scribble, or paste a photograph.
Eygptian scribe, Luover, Paris