If we use a Family Systems Theory approach into looking into a client, we take a very large history. In order to get the history we might look at three generations in the Family system. We draw a map of this, in a way — because you can trace patterns and get a sense of what you are going to be dealing with, and it helps you see potential problems as well. This is called a Geneogram, and you can see it in the wikipedia.
Remember that “Mental Status Exam” we were talking about? This is part of that. I used to do this maybe three weeks into treatment. It works really with with more “Concrete” clients. These clients are less “chatty” about their personal histories, and so, we make a map together. Drawing it out and talking about it. In a sense it is the map of their own history, and patterns begin to emerge as well as a lot of information about how they were raised, what their lives were like and so on. A THERAPIST wants to learn about their client. This is how we can begin to understand the beautiful “EGG” that is present in the room with us. And remember that SWISS CHEESE? This is how a Therapist can begin to see what some of those holes might look like. The map is going to show them.
If the client is a child, and we have determined we want to do some art and play therapy, we will schedule a few sessions alone with the parents, in order to get the Genogram, from the adults.
So, another tool we use is the timeline — you work this out as a “homework” with your client. Imagine a line from the client’s birth to their present age. They can take this home and “draw” the map of this for you. In the next session when they return, you can use it as a diagnostic tool as well. I just found a timeline of PSYCHOLOGY from a historical perspective in the wiki! It’s ancient, no? It looks like my field goes back to 1550 BC. Here is the EBERS PAPYRUS! — one of the first written documents…
“…The papyrus contains a “treatise on the heart“. It notes that the heart is the center of the blood supply, with vessels attached for every member of the body. The Egyptians seem to have known little about the kidneys and made the heart the meeting point of a number of vessels which carried all the fluids of the body — blood, tears, urine and sperm.
Mental disorders are detailed in a chapter of the papyrus called the Book of Hearts. Disorders such as depression and dementia are covered. The descriptions of these disorders suggest that Egyptians conceived of mental and physical diseases in much the same way.
The papyrus contains chapters on contraception, diagnosis of pregnancy and other gynaecological matters, intestinal disease and parasites, eye and skin problems, dentistry and the surgical treatment of abscesses and tumors, bone-setting and burns…”
Isn’t that fab! They called it the BOOK OF HEARTS! I love that! — Actually, therapy is about HEARTS, and making the heart feel happier. Truly. The most gratifying moments I had with clients were when I saw the depression start to lift! They were re-engaged with their creative sense.
So, something a therapist might do is ask a client to draw a picture of what was in their heart! This is the beginning of “Play Therapy” as well. You don’t need much for this, just a box of crayolas and a pad of drawing paper! My favorite box of crayolas is the largest one! (Of course, because it has so many colors to choose from!) When it comes to COLOR, more is always BETTER.
Green could sound like a lot of things! It could sound like leaves in the wind rustling, or a green cricket chirping, or an ocean wave as the surf rolls along!
Of course, the “sound” of the color GREEN is going to be different to each person, and they will need to explore that for themselves!
This is an artists color wheel, just a simple one, but –if you look at the color green — what kind of sound would it sound like, if you had a sound for it?
Can you make the sound for it? Like music?
I have a little film about one way green might sound, if you were by a cool river, with lots of mossy stones and slow water moving along!
So, if you have that box of crayons you can start to explore what GREEN is! Because there will be a lot of different kinds of GREEN CRAYONS! Which ones are your favorites?
I can tell you a little story about a woman I knew once. I was doing some art groups for older people as ART THERAPY, but also just so they could make friends with each other and have a support system. There was a 98 year old woman in there and she REFUSED to draw. Can you imagine that? She just said, “I can’t.”
Well, for the first few weeks she just sat and watched all the others drawing. One day she picked up a pencil and started drawing a series of circles! I asked her what they meant? And she told me a tale about how when she was little in school she was told her handwriting wasn’t any good! She put all of her heart into writing an essay, all of her heart, and the teacher didn’t like the way it looked!
So she had given up on drawing ANYTHING at age 8. For 90 whole years! Isn’t that terrible?
Well, I thought so.
After a few weeks, she was drawing with the best of them! And, everyone talked about their drawings. They were telling their life stories to each other. It was beautiful.
I saw something that made me so sad in the web the other day. I came across a page on EMO Culture. It seemed to me that the EMO’s were suffering. EMO might be short for EMOTION, in their world. I wonder what would happen if an EMO were to mess around with a crayon for awhile.
I bet they could draw a picture of their OWN HEART.
I wish I could see it? — I wonder if some of the EMOS might be artists? Remember how we were talking about that egg? Of the SELF? Well, up in the corner of the page is this picture of a cracked egg full of numbers and letters. It almost looked fractured?
So, a place to start would be to have the clients draw an egg, and draw what was inside the egg? And maybe draw a heart, and what was inside the heart? That would be a good place to start. They seem to like Oscar Wilde. He was a pretty fabulous writer! One of my favs…too!
We could talk about it! That is how THERAPY starts…