My art therapy sessions are carried out on a one-on-one basis as well as through group therapy. So, I work with single patients and groups of 15-30 patients at a time. Both settings are very gratifying for me. I LOVE what I do!!!
I recently completed my first art therapy lecture at Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center in Rayville, Louisiana. It was an amazing day! I worked with a large number of patients, both men and women. The Palmetto faculty and I decided to divide the patients into two groups so that I could better work with those who wanted individual attention as well as group as a whole. I find interaction with the patients to be much more intimate than lecturing the entire time. I also get much better results.
I’d like to share a couple of pieces that were created that day, as well as the stories behind them.
This patient’s artwork is untitled. She told me the story behind it: It is her cat’s paw. She has the greatest love for her cat —her cat literally saved her life. She told me her story through tears of thankfulness and love:
One morning, she had shot heroin but wasn’t feeling her usual high, so she shot it again within 30 minutes, this time using more. Almost instantly, she fell to the floor as she overdosed. Her cat, which was her only roommate, immediately sensed something was wrong. Luckily, the door has been mistakenly left open. The cat ran next door and raised hell until the neighbor walked over to the apartment to see what was wrong. When the neighbor entered the apartment, she realized the woman had overdosed and luckily got help in time.
This woman is winning her battle! She gave me this painting to me as a gift. I will hang it in my studio and think of her often with only the best hopes.
The young man who created this piece had no doubt about the subject for his artwork. As soon as I finished my lecture, he was the first one to run up and tell me what he wanted draw: a two-faced bitch. I immediately assumed that he had been in a terrible relationship. And he was, but not with a woman – with heroin!
He’d never drawn before. I gave him some instruction and assured him that he could do this if he just looked into his mind and put that picture on paper. He asked me to come to his area for instruction several more times, and then he reserved a corner in the room to himself.
During the final five minutes of therapy, he showed me his artwork and shared his story. I advised him on how to confront his issues, and he left me walking much taller, with a new confidence. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a young person surrender these issues at such a young age.
I may have mentioned before, I LOVE MY JOB!