My interest in destruction as part of the creative process for transformation in therapy first started as a new art therapist over 15 years ago, when I worked in a boy’s residential treatment center. Not only was creating, building, & constructing an important part of the work they did in the art room, but so was the undoing, breaking & pulling things apart to in turn mend, re-build, and put back together into a new form, with a different meaning and perspective. I loved witnessing the creative process of this chaotic discharge contained in the safety of our session and the pieces of this becoming the seeds of something new.
Sometimes this was done with tearing up an old, unwanted, or emotionally challenging art expression into bits & pieces and then using these remnants to create a new image full of possibility and discovery. In my art therapy work with women survivors of domestic violence, this same concept has taken the form of pulping/destroying past journal entries, unsent letters written to their abusers, or notes to their “old me” selves to create new handmade paper as a symbolic act of freedom, new beginnings, and personal transformation.
Inspired by these experiences in my clinical work and its value in the therapeutic process, I am looking forward to dedicating an entire day to explore this topic in a Master Class I’ll be co-teaching with Art Therapist Mindy Jacobson-Levy next month.
Join us on November 6 at this year’s Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC to creatively examine concepts & themes about the therapeutic role of creative destruction and the reparation of images to foster self-repair and personal growth. As part of our exploration, participants will spend the day working on an altered book as well as deconstructing objects of personal meaning into new forms and understanding. I can’t wait!
If you’re in the NYC area or making plans to attend this year’s Summit, I hope we can make some art together here! :)