Sunday, June 12, 2011

From Fragmentation to Integration 3

The fragmentation of old age: my 94 year-old mother - demented now!
Continuing my commentary on Stephen K. Levine's wonderful little book Poiesis: The Language of Psychology and the Speech of the Soul (Jessica Kingsley, London, 1997), our author points out that during some presentations, the nature of which we have described in the last post in this blog, the presenters sometimes become stuck or even freeze, and that when this happens he intervenes in a constructive way to help the participant continue.  Oftentimes, he tells us that the presenters enact or physically represent a wall between them and their audience, namely they symbolically portray a major stumbling block or wall that is somehow dividing them from the bigger group. In this way, Levine continues, [t]he wall ... becomes present in the here and now as group members are asked to choose whether to approach it and themselves risk rejection or to stay outside and face their own isolation." (Op. cit., p. 46)

As well as give these presentations, a student must, as part of the training to become an expressive arts therapist, conduct a self-exploration through artistic media, and this latter exercise involves at least six one-hour sessions.  Also they are further required to involve themselves in a paired guidance of their process of self-exploration with one other member of the group.  Again, this last activity must comprise at least six hour-long sessions.  Moreover, the students are required to keep a personal journal where they can be as creative and expressive as they like, with the the following principle as a guideline: they may write their accounts as expressively or as discursively as they like, but they must direct the focus of their writing or other Expressive Arts Medium to how the class relates to their own process.

I have decided to finish this post here for this evening as Professor Levine goes on in great detail to describe how he situates his theory and practice of Expressive Arts Therapy within the sociological or even anthropological phenomenon of Rites of Passage.  As this section particular section is far too long and unwieldy to summarise in précis fashion or in any fashion for that matter, I shall leave treating of this wonderful phenomenon till our next immediate post.

Slan bóthar agus tógaigí go bog é amuigh ar na sráideanna.

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