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Discover one’s true identity
Group and Art therapy
Listening and Sharing Workshops
What are the workshops?
According to the dictionary a workshop is a place where a craftsperson works, but it can also be that group of people, a group that work together. However the main idea contains both of these definitions; a workshop is a place where we can work together.
Craft and work with your own story/history, together with others in a safe space.
This comes not only from my own initial training as a ceramicist, but also from a more ethical reflection on the meaning of things in everyday life. As the child of a ceramicist, I wondered at teh mystery of matter which transformed itself and of gestures which led towards either the creation or destruction of a work of art.
The artist takes pride of place in the creation of a work of art. However, if the material used does not respond in the expected way, if it is recalcitrant, it is impossible for the artist to force the material according to his or her plan. This is also how I see things in the workshop with a therapeutic aim.
It is a contact based on trust, a shared path and an exchange of skills.
There is no hope of good work resulting if a ceramicist does not respect his or her clay, its degree of maturity or its texture.
Workshops with a therapeutic aim
It is all about moving on from worry and depression to life, where life itself leads us to become capable of receiving of holding and of contributing, just like a beautiful glistening vase.
A place where listening is the most important thing is a safe and silent space. A place where time seems to pause. A place where the body, history and the heart are carefully listened to.
It is not necessary to put everything into words; the body, movement, drawings or clay models can express deeply and without effort what lies most deeply within us.
For most of us, authentic sharing, without the expectation of receiving anything in return, is unusual. This authentic kind of sharing, only really comes into existence when participants in a workshop realise that the other participants are not passing judgement upon them, that they do not owe anything to anyone nor are they required to prove anything. The other participants are there for them. They are the craftspeople of their own stories. In such a space they can discover that the Other doesn’t always have to be someone who seduces or frightens one. We can be betrayed by our own way of seeing things. The image one has of something can hide the underlying reality. The Other can be so close, even closer than our imagination may have made us think or fear. The story of the Other and my own story are so similar and the pains and sorrows of the Other may be even stronger than those that are familiar to me. So, together it is possible for us to support and encourage one another. In this way, listening becomes sharing.
When we speak of caring for people, this necessarily presumes that some kind of wounding has happened. For emotional development to occur, a child first needs to be safe. Unfortunately, people rarely attain adult age without a person or an event being the cause for some kind of emotional shock. So, for an adult, something that appears to be quite minor is like a bomb going off, because of the effect it has on the heart of their inner child.
In greek, therapeia means care. Therapeo means take care of, serve, be the servant of. Therapeuein ten Psychen means care of the soul. Psyche means either, breath, the breath of life whence, the soul, the living person.
A broken heart needs care. Medical science speaks of the aftershocks of a reaction of fright and anxiety which follow after a brutal tearing and dissection of the main psychic functions which become dissociated from each other.
For the nth time, the four year old little girl runs towards her mother, her rag doll has once again lost an arm. This doll has already been fixed many times by the mother. The father – who is also present – is enfuriated because the doll has to be repaired once again, and he is all the more angry because to cap it all off the doll is already worn out and dirty. He grabs the doll by its remaining arm opens and throws it into the incinerator, where it starts to burn. The doll’s little mummy watches all this in horror.
For the adult, it is a question of hygiene: the doll was dirty and had been looked after enough. A new doll must be bought, end of story.
From the child’s point of view, the doll was all of her short childhood so far – her joys and tears, the intimate friend in whom she had confided everything. All this was ashes – and it was her daddy, who she depended on for everything and who controlled her entire life and who she loved, who had done this to her...
This woman, after this experience as a child became incapable of trusting any man; this incapacity was linked to her unconscious mind, which like a hard disk, had saved or recorded this image of her father throwing her doll into the fire. This image transmitted the following message to her: “He can love me and also destroy that which is most precious to me”. Her intellect could certainly tell her that not all men were like that, but her unconscious was telling her “Beware!” It is interesting that the Bible also refers to this reality well before the discovery of psychological mechanisms: “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”(The Bible, Matt 12:34). What is in the psyche seems to influence one’s attitude, reactions, words and actions, more than what is in the intellect. For more details on this please see the section on the broken off pieces of the heart, which are also called Alters
Pascal’s saying is “the heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of”. Reason or the intellect cannot recognise them, because the Alters are connected to the unconscious to the emotions and not to the intellect.
This state of affairs means that the other person has to change his or her behaviour via his or her head, that is intellectually. So this can occur without that person’s heart being touched, and/or without the person being convinced. This situation ends up sooner or later by creating frustration and then anger. And then anger, if it cannot be expressed, gives birth to depression.