inside art therapy

Putting art therapy ramblings to paper…

Dreams and angry elephants continued… January 18, 2012

Filed under: Art Therapy,Creativity,How art can heal,The Unconscious — insidearttherapy @ 2:17 pm

I seem to be jumping around a bit now in my writing. Filling in the gaps.  I am well aware of my tendency to just kept slogging on at something and trying to make it better and better, when frequently all I do is end up rearranging the mediocre!   I think I’ll finish up with dream work now and come back to it again with fresh eyes in a few days.  I think the heat here in South Australia is melting my brain!

  • Engaging art in the exploration of dreams can be facilitated in many ways.  A client can draw or paint the significant images and scenes from a dream.  Often the client will report that they do not have enough clarity or detail. In this instance, reassure the client that the dream came from within, and that allowing intuition to guide them in creating detail will perhaps access the same unconscious material that originally generated the dream.  Remember to again make the images that result, subject to a phenomenological investigation.  Make the art unknown, perhaps by rotation or distance, and ask the client, “What do you see now?”   “What does this mean to you?”  “Does this have some relevance in the (the goal for therapy generally or this activity)?”  “What feelings are generated when you view this image?” (Note the continued externalisation by not asking the client what his or her feelings are.)   Another useful exploration is to create the before and after images of a dream scene.

    Encourage the client to identify objects in the dream, and explain them. What do they mean or represent? How might this object represent part of themselves or experience?

    Ask the dreamer to imagine him or herself as any object or character within the dream. What feelings are generated? What resonance does the client feel with the object or character portrayed?  What dissonance does the client experience? Where are the feelings of power and powerlessness?

    Have the client create an answer to the questions posed by the dream.  For example, the client may decide that the question posed is “What big elephant experience or belief am I inclined to dress up or enhance by adding a feather boa?” and “If the elephant is angry, is this exaggerating approach that I take, going to blow up in my face?”  The client can draw a single dream scene in answer, or perhaps a sequence.


3 Responses to “Dreams and angry elephants continued…”

  1. Laticia Dunne (IKON student) Says:

    You are an inspiration, your writings are amazing and I can’t wait to get a copy of your book! I wonder how this can be done. I shall contact the college to try and find out. Thankyou for officially elaborating on your wisdom and knowledge and experience for all us budding art therapists…Australian Patients will reap the benefits I’m sure!
    Thankyou for all your help as a teacher and mentor also.
    Hopefully you are well.
    Thanks again!
    Laticia Dunne

    • Thank you for your enthusiasm Leticia. It has been a long time since I added to the blog. You have inspired me to get stuck into it again.
      It is great to know there are Art Therapists out there to carry on this important work. You are a wonderful example. Keep up the good work! Cheers, Glenda

    • Hey Tish. Thank you for your wonderful comments. I hope your practice is beginning to build and your enthusiasm is as charged as ever! Glenda

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