I felt her agitation and stress as she walked in the door. As we sat in the studio, ‘M‘ quietly shared her experience of loss and grief. I felt a heavy dullness in my heart area and wondered how one ever recovers from such pain. ‘M‘ told me she didn’t know what she should do next; she said she felt out of control, powerless and confused.
I asked her why she had chosen to do art therapy. She explained that her counsellor was supportive and had provided practical help, ‘but inside I seem to be spiralling deeper… I need to try something different’ she said. ‘M’ also confided that her sister ( a past client) had more than encouraged her to come along.
I noticed that ‘M‘ kept looking at an abstract painting on the studio wall during our conversation. I asked what was drawing her attention to the piece, and she told me she would like to try painting like that. We discussed what one would need to paint something similar and she asked if she might give it a try. ‘M’ said she felt nervous, but as she practiced and played with the brushes and paint, her posture became more relaxed. I noticed her breathing had slowed and become deeper.
The next hour passed quickly. ‘M’ expressed her surprise when I placed her practice pieces (what she called ‘a mess’) inside a frame. We shared what we had noticed about the process during the session and her finished art. ‘M’ said she felt lighter and more relaxed now and made another appointment.
Over the next few weeks, we introduced mindfulness and focusing into our sessions. ‘M’ said that whilst she still felt her loss, she felt felt more like herself and her sadness had changed in nature. She said allowing herself to express whatever emerged in the moment gave her a sense of relief. ‘M’ said she ‘really appreciated’ her experience and is happy to share the art she made during her sessions with you the reader of my blog. She recently told me that she now attends painting and poetry classes and feels best when she is creating and focusing.