Posts Tagged ‘expressive therapies in india’

Well, once again, there has been a long time between blogs. Daily life, work, family and projects take up the psychic space that I need to think about writing a blog. Some of what I have been doing, I have done with my partner in life and career Michael Watson, who has been writing voraciously and beautifully. To read about his work I invite you to go to his blog here.

P1030643It is cold here. It is supposed to be about 5 degrees tonight. Fahrenheit.   I wrap myself in my Indian scarves and shawls to remind myself of the warmth of South Asia.

I keep myself busy! Besides my clinical work,  and my work  with the Centre for Playback Theatre (which has been ubber busy this past fall!!! We are gearing up for our winter session trainings- check them out at: http://www.playbackcentre.org/training-program), I have been teaching.  This past semester I taught various classes on Transpersonal Psychology and  expressive therapies. We dove in deep, and as is the case for many of my courses, bridged between the personal worlds that we exist in and the academics of understanding the theories behind why we would use the arts as a tool for healing. And as always, I experienced the deep richness and satisfaction of a co-creative and collaborative process – I as teacher being student at times, and my students teaching me so much that often isn’t written in textbooks. (more…)


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View of the waterfront in Hong Kong

It’s has been a while since I lasted posted, hard to believe that a year ago, I was in India.

This is a brief post to let you all know I am here, alive, well and traveling! Much has happened in the last year-  teaching, printing, doing healing work on so many levels- Taking on new roles (Chair of Board of the Centre for Playback Theatre) , including another trip in November to Hong Kong and Germany (yes, you read that right, both countries, two continents-one trip in 13 days!!:~)

I have spent much of the year here – teaching at the college, working at our therapy practice which has swelled and dipped, dipped and swelled…, Gardening, Grandparenting- A new little one arrived on July 4rth – and staying in touch with all my friends and colleagues around the world. A very full year indeed. (more…)

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World Vision Advance training WCC 006 I have just finished a 5 day training with World Vision, a Christian based organization that works with street children, abused children, and children who have HIV or AIDS or live with someone with HIV/AIDS)

One unique aspect of this training is that there were more men than women! There were 8 men and 3 women. ages were from 27-48 in the group. However, while the group was fairly mature in  chronological age, It felt at times that the training  was like “Herding goats”, due to a lot of male bonding behavior.Of course as this was an expressive arts course, I helped to open the energy up a bit. One person in the group has HIV and is an advocate with the organization. people came from many parts of India for this training. Some traveling more than a day to attend.puppets- A voice from within, becoming embodied.

With the background theme of working with Kids with HIV/AIDS or in families, we explored building trust, understanding materials, movement, song, metaphor and imagery,family work and looking at our social networks, Using puppets to embody parts of ourselves or to have conversations that are hard when we are ourselves, Playback Theatre and storytelling as  a way of helping children create a narrative that helps them make sense of their world and of their feelings in response. It was a very full week.World Vision workshop 039

This group, while people understood English needed translation from my English into Indian English. Magdalene and I had to reorganize a bit, and she became my interpreter. I found that although I spoke more slowly, many of my American phrases went right over their heads. I had a hard time getting concrete enough for them. Fortunately that got better as the week went on.  I am now in the groove of speaking pigeon English. Speaking Tamil is not something that I have been able to master. There is little to ground it for me- I find that I struggle to grasp the nuances. Many people here want to practice their English. And so I don’t try very hard.

This training was important for the group in the respect that they began to frame their work in a completely different way. There was a fair amount of judgment like comments at the beginning- In working with sociometry and the way I handle sharing- this level of commentary decreased noticeably after the first day. The judgments though comes not just within their group, but from a society that refuses to accept that HIV and AIDS are in fact real and need to be dealt with. What does one do when whole families refuse to be tested for fear of recrimination? Or disbelieve that having unprotected sex is not bad if you are carrying the virus? The reality of this level of understanding is frightening to those of us who understand the deep ramifications. Whether it is religion or politics, the result ends up being that there are unnecessary illnesses and deaths that are based in fear.Understanding different roles in our lives, taking them on... and off

An important day was when we did some work around taking on other roles- stepping into other peoples shoes.Roles included the government worker, the person with HIV, a parent, a child, a relative of someone with HIV. Many people remarked on the power of that and how little they have done so. Another exercise  reflected on how we felt physically- (mentioning that as we age we die a little more each minute) after which, participants then drew on a template of a human body. Sharing after an exercise

In all, I felt deeply enriched, each person affirmed their commitment to working using more arts based work. The person who has HIV told me that she felt like  pounds of weight had just dropped away with the process and that she was able to look at herself and her work in a different way. I too felt deeply moved by the sharings. We all felt like we had learned much.

World Vision workshop 016

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Creating a Collage

Yesterday we finished the first 5 day workshop. There were 5 women, organizational facilitators and therapists, present. Ours was a week of connecting through sound, movement, art, and drama. We also did dream work (including exploring dreams through dream theatre), and mandala and mask making. We discussed the history of the Expressive therapies, looking at the development of art making skills, assessment, and the use of metaphor. We explored ways to use the arts to access the deep well of creativity within each of us. We also considered what it means to embody a process, to bring it out in the open, in order for us to look at what we are experiencing within.  At the end, there were deeply shared moments of connecting to self, and others, in a way that promoted deep healing for all. Here is a link to more pictures, and a blurb,at the Centre for Counselling ,where the workshop was held. (more…)

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First day of expressive therapy workshop

It is now Wednesday. I’ve been back in India since Saturday. I find I am moving around the streets with more ease, going to the street kiosks to buy things that I need. (Yesterday I bought cough medicine; earlier, sponges, and soap to clean my apartment.) There are a couple of places nearby that I go to for breakfast (I often get Dosa with ghee, a traditional South Indian crepe type dish) and tea. The staff now know me well enough that I can walk in, and some one with a little bit of English is assigned to my table.

I have not learned the art of speaking Tamil;  it is a very challenging language to me, and, on top of that, not everyone speaks it. There is an interesting mix of languages here, so often people speak English to each other. Magdalene and I went to one of my favorite stores (Landmark) to buy art supplies. I get lost in their used book section. A bit Filenes basement, a bit K Mart…. its  my kinda place. (more…)

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Art Therapy Training 2009

I’m in Chennai. I spent a couple of hours this morning walking around and looking for internet potentials. It is Sunday and many Indian Christians are at church. Shops and cafes open late here, and stay open late, so I have a better chance of finding an Internet cafe this evening . I remembering a lot from my last trip, which is nice. It seems that more women are going less Indian, more Western, with fewer dupattas. While I’m dressing Indian, I’m doing in a more relaxed way, feeling less inhibited around being white skinned.

Also this morning I went to the store, got cleaning things, and scrubbed the apartment. I am staying at a flat that is part of a fertility clinic. The apartment needed a bit of work before I could truly settle in. Magdalene, my coordinator here,  is thrilled at how spacious it is and that it has hot water and A/C! (more…)

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