At our February 25th Open Meeting, renowned Art Therapist Linda Nicholas facilitated a workshop on telling the patient experiencewith healthcare through graphic expression. For anyone unfamiliar with art as a therapeutic technique, the method is generally understood in two ways: to treat the art-making process as therapeutic in itself, or by using art to facilitate the transference process between the therapist and the client making art.
Whether experienced directly or through another, healthcare experiences can be traumatic. Most of us are used to telling our patient stories through verbal communication, but words can hinder and place articificial cielings on expression whereas drawing reveals nuaunces and intricate details that exist below the surface.
With Linda's direction it became clear that the insights lie in the unintentionality of the drawing process. So, when participants say 'it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to' - and this happened a lot - Linda would say that there are no accidents in drawing. Seemingly unimportant details in the drawing can uncover discrepancies in what we believed was the case - what our memory stored - and what actually happened, offering a fresh perspective on an experience.
The positive feedback was overwhelming. One member thought the workshop stood apart from other Patients' Association meetings as 'looking at a familiar story in a whole different light gained new and unexpected insights.' We're delighted that everyone enjoyed the session and we look forward to offering similarly engaging sessions in the future - stay tuned!
You can read more on Linda Nicholas and her book "Drawing out the Self" here.