Friday, 19 February 2016

Sometimes I receive an email enquring about my arts based therapy practice and/or requesting information about interventions. I received one such mail this week. As I so often am when I engage with creative interventions, I was reminded of the significant value of arts based therapy in journeying into self awareness, particularly its ability to manoeuvre the journey with us.

I happened to come across your article in Network Ireland and was interested in what you say about 
recording the story. I have always found, I've been running on a story which I believe to be true and is at times believed in, so much so, that the story never ends, meaning the now can be taken up with the story from the past sometimes charged with more thoughts

I wonder is your idea of recording it a way of putting it to bed, so to speak . Or even seeing it from a 
different perspective?

Yes, I do believe our stories are continuous. We also have much control over how they continue to play out, which is why I like to keep the book open - so that we can add to the chapters/scenes as we journey through life and watch how different ones may intersect. This doesn't mean that the book is always an active part of our lives but it is there and we can pick it up or put it down as we wish.

Sometimes we remember at a later time, seemingly very significant aspects of a story, and these we can then weave into that narrative, oftentimes changing perspectives. The lifestory book can be a continuous commentary of our lives, one we can review and expand upon as we see fit. We are taking control of the story, seeing that it is not inflexible, moulding and shaping it according to our developing self awareness and, in the process, watching how certain patterns and sub texts may re-emerge.

With regard to 'putting it to bed', remember, that we have the power to arrange the chapters as we wish. Nothing is fixed except the awareness that we are creating our stories. If we find ourselves replaying a particular story in our minds, we can break it down into smaller scenes and address these individually with a therapist. Perhaps there are particular scenes that we are fixed on, and in seeking answers, we are replaying an entire chapter in our minds, looking for solutions/understanding. My suggestion is to explore these scenes in particular, using the tools arts based therapy provides, and remember, we have the ability to create art from our stories. Art and writing can be the way in and also the way out.


People often say that this or that person has not yet found themselves. But the self if not something one finds. It is something one creates. (Thomas Saasz)

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