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We are now into our third week of ‘Art Therapy Group Sessions’ and I have been finding them interesting, challenging and enlightening. This particular session was smaller in numbers than the other two. Having small numbers in the group made the experience of sharing a little more intense, as there is more time than usual to discuss our art therapy works. Hence more focus on our individual thoughts, feelings and emotions which can be intimidating and confronting.
There were a number of activities undertaken during this session and I have decided to discuss just the one. We were asked to select a shell from a group of sea shells laid out before us; a sea shell that appealed to us, that we could connect with in some way. After spending some time viewing the shells, I found myself drawn to a shell that was largish when compared with the other shells. It was very solid with aging lines on the right side; barnacle type marks on its underside and brown-yellow in colour. We were then asked to hold the shell and concentrate on its shape, size, smell, colour and feel; to be truly mindful of its presence. I found my thoughts drifting to thoughts about when I was a child and the times I played with my brother and sister on the beaches where we lived. Playing in the sand, sun and the sea; collecting shells, driftwood and little treasures to play with after leaving the beach and on our return home.
Once we had completed our ‘mindfulness’ about the shell, we were asked to paint a scene where the sea shell could be placed within. I selected a small sheet of butcher paper, a set of soft crayons and a set of watercolour paints and proceeded to paint my beach scene using these materials and keeping in mind my personal shell story.
On completion we were asked to verbally share our story. The art therapist had given me a sheet of paper where I wrote some words to explain mine and they are as following:
When I was a child, I spent a lot of time on the beach with my brother and sister. Some beaches were placid and tame, some were wild and furious. My sea shell represents how it has been able to survive these earthy conditions and be able to land on the shore and nestle within a safe haven of rocks. Although being small, it has still made its presence felt and found its way to here today…
This art therapy session took me back to my childhood, reminding me of the pleasurable times at the beach with my brother and sister. I remembered how engaging with nature had been one of my joys during my childhood years. Childhood was not an easy time for the three of us children but…we survive…just like my shell.
NB: Please click on the below links to view the first and second Art Therapy Group Sessions:
Whilst you are here – please check out my home page! My Art Therapy Journey – A window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytelling…by Karen Robinson