Sometimes when we are stuck for words, an image can help to open up conversations that have the potential to lead to valuable emotional connections. When used thoughtfully and responsibly (and after an initial assessment), these connections can be part of the creative collaboration between a client and counsellor. Painful and joyful memories and emotions can be brought into awareness in a way that might not happen with verbal or text-based questions. This brings with it the possibility of uncovering unconscious motivations that could be affecting our actions and behaviours in a way that is unhelpful for the life goals or ways of being we would like to manifest.
Many practised and skilful artists find the process of creating works of art therapeutic. In art psychotherapy the client need not have any prior training or skills in the creation of art. Instead an environment of self expression with an art therapist includes reflections, discussions and a commitment to using the process for therapeutic understanding and positive change. I see artistry and art therapy as different from the selection of pre-produced images as a starting point for a safe and therapeutic collaboration/conversation. When the images are photographs created by you, your emotional connection is likely to be deeper and can add to a sense of personal control.
As part of my integrative approach, I may suggest the use of images in our work and collaborate appropriately with you as a way of deepening our face-to-face or online connection for safe, therapeutic purposes and to help you to practise new ways of approaching emotional conversations.
It is also possible to work creatively online within the text-based environment with the use of different colours, fonts and emoticons 😕 to suit your way of expressing yourself. If you use an email service that does not have these features, you may wish to create password protected text documents to attach to your emails instead. Do not hesitate to ask if you would like further guidance on how to do this at any stage of our work together.