Communication is key to every therapeutic practice! Ever been lost for words? Or maybe you have attempted to expound your circumstances, but no matter how much you speak, your words don’t seem to say what you want to tell? Here is an opportunity to engage, explore and be empowered to address what’s needed when what’s needed is unclear and confusing.
Activities for Awareness are restorative simple techniques that include drawing and images to ignite and inspire insight. These activities promote clarity through reflective dialogue, paraphrasing and identification of similarities and differences that may not otherwise be noticed. Activities for Awareness are designed to discover trailheads for counseling and open up pathways toward healing that have been closed or ignored. Our experiences of loss, significant encounters, or traumatic ordeals tend to activate our protective mechanism within us which can influence us when we address deeper personal work. Activities for Awareness are not about artistry or perfection, but instead these activities are used with images, description and metaphors to deepen the counseling process in a time saving and efficient manner. Activities for Awareness are interventions and techniques that are tried and true, but using them in an innovating and restorative way where the client is the expert.
Words of inspiration and encouragement can help push us through the day, but there are times when this isn’t enough. Same is true in the counseling. Sometimes words themselves are be more of a hindrance then a help. Activities of Awareness can help bring about understanding without the problem of being misinterpreted.
Therapeutic practices vary among counselors’ orientation. Communication is key. Tradition therapies are based in talk therapy. Talk therapy includes the presumption that all experiences are connected to language. This may be true in time, but language and a vocabulary needs to be developed. Some have prenatal experiences that influence their lives. Others endure moments that get passed over by language and stick within them until language can be cultivated and somehow shared. Our experiences begin when we are born and there are studies that show that we have prenatal experiences that affect our lives after we’re born.
Nonetheless frequently, people can be lost for words or can be lost in words. Many traditional talk therapies have a hierarchical process of which the therapist is the expert and the person seeking help is the patient. In this type of therapeutic structure, misinterpretation can arise out of the presupposition of the professional. Misinterpretation can place a barrier or become a stumbling block or a pothole that stalls the counseling process. Misinterpretation can find the inappropriate trailhead or even send the process in completely the wrong direction leaving a client more confused than when they started. Yet, there are many more ways to communicate that can prevent these type of predicaments from happening.
Sandra has found that drawing can be a bridge to understanding. Drawing allows us to continue to tell our stories through images and explanation. A simple drawing (ie. stick people gathering at a table) or image (ie. a wall that signifies a barricade that keeps someone from their dreams) can give life to an experience which then can be described through metaphor rather than straight talk or by memory. Drawing provides a redirection of attention which increases a person’s tolerance of talking about difficult experiences. A person can depict their experiences using small selective imagery which then allows them to piece apart what seemingly may be overwhelming in its entirety or piece together a longing for understand and purpose. The intensity of our emotions can soften with this technique while making the story more palpable in the re-experience.
Sandra has also found the power and influence images and symbols have on each of us. Often without notice, images hold meaning. Just for fun: what does this “$$$$$” mean to you? Or if you saw this * after your name? Images can be building blocks that connect the heart, head and hands and allow us to become a healing conduit or a constant irritant to ourselves and others. Images rather than words permit an individual to develop a visual language for the purpose of communicating their story. Images and drawing can open up discussion of ideas, opinions and beliefs in order to create new meanings and introduce new behaviors or possibilities.
Sandra is well-versed in the identification of patterns. We all have developed a life pattern. Each pattern has been uniquely designed through our personality characteristics, our work and life experiences. Each pattern is purposefully, yet the majority of our lives, we live forgetfully. We cannot see our own patterns and often do not we want to see them as other people do. Sandra has extended her love for quilting into her counseling practice. She is skillfully talented at using active listening and reflective dialectical dialogue along with motivational interviewing in facilitating Activities for Awareness. Sandra shares her attentiveness with each client in a way of caring intention, encouraging exploration and practical experience in order to promote change, forge transition and witness transformation.