Resilience is an excellent thing to strive for in this complex era. This project invites viewers to create a 30 day visual journal to cultivate hope, momentum, and postivie self regard in a low pressure, low key way. This video introduces ideas from the field of psychology who contributed to our understanding of well being.
Embracing TIME through Creative Art Expression
How do we create a sense of control when things feel our of control? Engaing in a creative project and narrowing down time to embrace the things we can control is a great way to start. These instructional videos offer a simple format to use collage material for creative self expression.
EMDR and Creative Arts Therapies
I am writing this post to announce the publication of a new book EMDR and Creative Arts Therapies that I co-edited and co-wrote. This book is a a collaborative effort of many pioneers in the creative arts therapies field. For therapists who are trained in EMDR and looking for creative avenues to support the work they do, you will LOVE this book. This is the first and only book written on the topic of using creativity to enhance EMDR therapy. We are so very happy to share our ideas with the mental health field.
Post pandemic CRISIS: The anxiety of reconnection.
The pandemic isn’t quite over, but the rapid vaccination rollout, warmer weather, and dropping numbers of newly diagnosed individuals are certainly offering a new level of hope in the United States. It appears we are entering a new phase which will allow for safely connecting with our peeps. For most, this is fantastic news, but for many, this is a season of serious crisis. What is happening? As a therapist, I am here to offer an insider’s view of this emerging phenomenon that has accompanied much of March, 2021.
For the past year, most earthlings’ lives were upended overnight. The remainder of the year was a slow descent into new dimensions of our “inner” worlds, while contemplating what an “outer” world might look like in a post pandemic world. Most envisioned a new world with a built in group of people/friends/partners/community. The new CRISIS for many is the reality that their pre pandemic lives had “simulated community” and not “real community.” Now that the season of opening is really upon us, many people recognize the desperate and inherent need for close social ties. The real question is HOW, WHEN, WHERE to find this community, thus the crisis. It turns out our rugged individualism as Americans led us into a false belief system of thinking we don’t need any real close ties.
Research in the mental health field in the 21st century can be consolidated into three words:
DO I BELONG?
If you don’t believe this reductionist approach to the conundrum of Homo Sapiens, please check out the links at the end of this post from the field of adult attachment. The crisis unfolding is the dawning reality that people simply don’t feel like they belong anywhere, have had a full year of profound loneliness. The great news is this can be resolved, but this shift requires…..risk……vulnerability……quieting down the noise in one’s head, etc….or as we like to say confronting “USA”- things that are Uncomfortable, Scary and Awkward.
Belonging requires many components such as:
- Identifying like minded people (this means identifying your own wants/needs/interests)
- Tracking down where you might find these like minded people in your community
- Making a real plan to gather with these people.
- ENGAGING with these people.
- Going back to the same place again and again to join a community.
This combination of steps to cultivate community is so anxiety provoking to many people that it is leading to a real crisis. I have observed so much suicidal ideation and relapses in the past few weeks in my front row seat as a therapist, and am hearing similar things from therapist colleagues all over the world. Once we can NAME this thing and acknowledge the social terror, the suicidal ideation can quiet itself down. This info might be shocking- you might be asking yourself, “Really? Someone would consider suicide over just showing up to make some friends somewhere?” Sadly, yes. Suicide is often a very poor coping tool and “easy way out” of not taking the scary route to confronting things that need to be confronted or sorted out. Naming it usually can reduce the power and lure of this kind of behavior/thinking (enlisting creativity into this murky space is hugely helpful). If you resonate with some of these complicated emotions, or are interested in brushing up on this 21st century thinking, here are some excellent guides to assist you on your journey of creating something new in a post pandemic world.:
Dr. Omri Gillath TEDxOverlandPark talk on The Power of (secure) Love
Adult Attachment: A Concise Introduction to Theory and Research by Omri Gillath
Art Therapy and Community
Resilience, COVID-19 and Creativity
Kindness as a Radical Act of Freedom. #NovemberLOVEmber
Let’s plan for something RADICALLY different this election day (11/03/2020) in the United States. Can you engage in a random act of kindness for someone in your community? These are complicated times. Your emotions are REAL. Let’s reclaim integrity, one interaction at a time. Let’s make a plan to mitigate negativity in a tiny but powerful way.
You might be feeling a radical range of emotions on November 4th (the day after election day). These emotions are real, and you are entitled to have them, feel them, and process through them. To smooth out your big emotions, can you plan for at least TWO random acts of kindness in your day? Planning ahead, creating concrete goals, and the simple act of doing something (along with the very magnificent opportunity to vote) can be powerful avenues for regaining a sense of control in a country that feels out of control.
Random acts of kindness ideas:
- Buy someone a cup of coffee.
- Say hello to a stranger.
- Call an old friend.
- Exchange eye contact with someone and wave hello.
- Thank someone who did something for you (your child’s teacher, mail carrier, garbage collector, delivery person etc.)
- Write a letter to an old friend
- Check in (safely) on someone with “pandemic fatigue”
- Bring your neighbor flowers.
- Ask a work colleague a personal question.
- Call a relative
- Be kind to yourself
Art Therapy and COVID-19
Monopoly as a metaphor of inequality in the USA
The best way to truly comprehend the inequality in the USA is to use the metaphor of a Monopoly game. The rules are pretty simple- everyone starts with the same amount of money, and as you work your way around the board, you can buy real estate when you land on a property. You then get to charge your opponents rent when they land on your spot, and rent keeps increasing as you buy houses and hotels to add to youe property. The goal of the game? When everyone is bankrupt, you win. Simple, right?
Let’s imagine the African American experience in the US. If each time around the board of a Monopoly game represents a year, then the first 350 times around the board, the African American player got nothing (slavery started in this land in roughly 1619). The rest of the players are using the income they were given at the beginning of the game. Finally, in the next 50 rounds around the board, the African American player gets a tiny bit of money to start catching up. If you have ever been that far into Monopoly game, the chances of EVER catching up are simply impossible. The frustration felt in the game is the SAME frustration many African Americans experience every single day. This metaphor might seem silly, but this the easiest way to comprehend our situation that was 401 years in the making. What do we do? How do we switch to a new game?
The economic disparaties in the US are massive. Please read more to learn about our shocking stats that happened in just the past decade: Pew Reserach Center. When our expectations no longer meet our reality, anger, frustration and disquiet erupt in what is often referred to as the Tocquville effect.
What is the short term solution at this point in the story? Stay curious. Stay open. Listen. Learn. Vote. Ask questions. Real change is something ALL of us have to do together. Let’s sort this hope thing out together, one conversation at a time. This is not a time to sit this one out or stay quiet. Let’s evolve together.
Tumult in the USA
Things are changing fast here in the United States. Perhaps the woman in this video can/should/will become a voice to lead the way. She speaks for so many who do not have a voice. Please watch this powerful video of Desiree Barnes as she admonishes the looters outside of her apartment in NYC.
Yes, people are angry. Yes, people have a right to be angry. Yes, this is the bumpy ride into the 21st century, as we dust off the oppression and disequilibrium of the past centuries. Let’s start a new conversation so the looters, and people who are destroying public and private property are held accountable. What we are seeing today following days of civil unrest in the US is our soldiers, deployed by our president to protect these public and private places. This is not freedom. This is something swampy and ugly. Let’s follow Desiree Barnes’ powerful expression of anger to make change in a meaningful way. “When the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.” -Edith Hamilton