The imagePathwasy process uses any one of the following modalities for gaining insight and healing. They may be use independently, as a process for healing, or can be combined in any way that is comfortable for the client. All artistic modalities use the bilateral (right brain-left brain component) as the mechanism that aides in emotional healing.
Artplay is a broad term that allows one to use “personal creative artProcess” to focus on personal growth and healing. With the imagePathways Process, widely diverse artistic modalities and materials are available including: collage, drawing, painting, sculpture, clay, mixed media, etc. Having choices of artistic expression allows client to explore and enhance inner creativity and promote healing on a deeper level. Creative expression becomes the doorway to insight, where in-depth communication and healing occur. The focus is on the “process” of making art rather than the final product and its artistic merits. Although beautiful works of art may surface it is about what “happens on the journey” to the final art piece that is most important. One who is timid about making art can be free to experience art making a non-threatening way because it does not focus on the importance of the beauty of the piece. Technique and artistic experience are not necessary.
Collage is a medium using any and all forms of two-dimensional image alone or in concert with three-dimensional media. By combining many images, one piece of art is created. Two- dimensional image surrounds us. It is seen in our major mode of communication in the form of magazines, brochures, posters, newspapers, advertisements, and greeting cards, all of which can be cut out and assembled into a piece of artwork and glued on in a way that expresses our thoughts and feelings. People who have a fear of art or creative process respond very well to this medium. It is a non-threatening way of working with visual image, which brings issues to the surface. Once one becomes aware of the power of working with image, images begin to speak in a very different way. By just being in our daily environment we cannot escape image. “Image awareness” becomes ever-present, calling us to respond on an ongoing basis. Working with this form is much less intimidating than drawing. People who have a fear of drawing can cut or tear images out of a magazine and glue them onto a piece of paper. It is about as simple as it gets.
From the dawn of time man has been drawing. We see it on the walls of prehistoric caves. Some find drawing easier than others. Drawing can be done in both simple ways and in complex ways. It can be refined, structured, precise and realistic or haphazard, organic, whimsical or free-flowing. A multitude of mediums can be used, i.e.: pencil, pastel, markers, pen and ink, oil crayons, charcoal and the list goes on. Regardless of what medium is used a person can find deeper self-expression when making the choice to use drawing as a healing modality.
Painting, as in drawing, is a medium that can aid one in getting in touch with personal issues that need to be healed. It also has an endless range of possibilities in its expression, using different mediums such as watercolor, oil, and acrylic poster paint, or tempra. Painting can be done in silence, to music, with non-dominant hand, with eyes closed, or with another person (in silence or with discussion.) Putting brush to paper begins to free up emotional issues that need to have a voice, through the creative process.
Junk Art uses anything and everything as a potential way to express oneself in creative process. Use of recycled materials and found objects, that would normally be considered trash, are used to create sculptural pieces. Art making with “junk” creates endless possibilities for expression. What a magical process it is to open oneself to artistic expression with nothing but junk. Creating “something” out of supposed “nothing” has the ability to take people into very deep places, opening doors to insight. Making Art Out of the Junk in One’s Life becomes a very profound metaphor or symbol for transformation and healing.
The term “mixed media” refers to a works of art made with more than one material. A variety of art mediums are combined into one piece of art. Mixed media collage is a great tool for self-expression. As one opens to artistic exploration as a form of self-expression, being able to use a variety of materials for art-making is a valuable part of the process. Creative choices help in allowing one to express more freely and encouraging choice in other parts of life.
Collaborative Art ~ (Group Process)
There is tremendous personal value gained from working with others on “collaborative art.” Group process is when two or more people, cooperatively, work on one piece of art. There is an incredible energy flow that happens as people come together and communicate as one, using many different mediums such as collage, pastel, painting, or mixed media. In the framework of group dynamics issues of boundaries, control, trust, intimidation, fear of drawing and sometimes anger, can all surface amongst the participants, opening doors to issues that need to be addressed and resolved. This is a great way to work with couples, families, or children. It can also be used for team building, as a way of connecting ideas, or a way to draw people out of their fears. It is a process of letting go and it becomes a process of “total surrender.” It can be done both verbally and non-verbally. Very unexpected things can happen in the collaborative process especially when the non-verbal approach is taken
Cut or torn image from magazines can be combined with writing in the form of a “visual journal” or “image journal.” Images that evoke strong emotion are placed into a journal and written words express thoughts and feelings in response to the image. Working in this way can unlock buried parts of the psyche. It helps one identify and be free with feelings that may have been suppressed. If done daily there is a great ability for one to process in an ongoing, incredible way, by zeroing in on personal response to the day’s events. Doing this just before bed can become a summary of the day’s energy and by morning often times resolution has taken place. It is simple, quick, and very powerful.
In addition to individual therapy sessions we emphasize art as a transformative processes through group workshops, classes, intensives and retreats where group dynamics work well to facilitate self-discovery. This provides a supportive environment for creative expression in whatever way one chooses to artistically express. Group interaction can be very powerful as individuals come together to experience creative process. One can work individually within a group or collaborative art-making can be explored. In a group setting there are generally times when artwork is shared.
imagePlay™ is a simple way of working with image in the collage format. With a vast array of images available you are able to quickly and easily choose those that evoke emotions and memories. The use of image, whether in photos or illustrations, always brings to the surface beliefs that lie at the core of your being and allows whatever might be in the deepest unconscious a quick, direct and effective way to express. This form mirrors emotions and the inner world.
sandPlay therapy uses image in a three-dimensional form called miniatures. It is a form of active imagination, in which figures are used to create pictures in the sand, called sand worlds. It incorporates the physical, emotional and spiritual. It brings into concrete and tangible form that which lies within the psyche. It is possible to express the deeper parts of the psyche in a silent, non-verbal way and plays a role in processing buried emotional information. Working in the sand is about working in the spiritual, and working with water is about being in the emotional. Healing and transformation can take place, restoring the psyche to its place of natural wholeness. The power of Sandplay comes with combining sand, water, and miniatures, with the freedom to do whatever one wants. Children naturally are drawn to playing in sand and dirt. It is the child in all of us, regardless of biological age, that is drawn to expressing in the sand with tiny symbolic images. sandPlay is a valuable tool for both children and adults.