I always thought I had two left hands. I could not draw, not even a proper circle or a straight line. I was not excelling at all in creative and handcraft tasks. I was ashamed about all that I was trying to do with my hands and imagination. The marks and evaluations I got for these in school did not help either to build up any kind of self-confidence which would have been needed to be able to create art without any inhibition.
I had the belief that I was not good at anything that I had to do with my hands until about my mid thirties. After having had a spinal hernia followed by an intensive psychotherapy I have started to explore various self-growth techniques among which there was a short, four days ‘drawing on the right-side of the brain’ course. I did not know what to expect but I was going to try it anyway as there was no way my left-handedness could get any worse.
After the course I could draw, shade, see and put on paper proportional and clear drawings. I could even make a self-portrait. And I was very angry. I was angry because I felt that I was suffering from shame in school for 12 years and as a result of that for decades afterwards thinking I had a “disability” of drawing. And now within four days I have learned that a drawing is composed of lines and I can re-create a Picasso sketch just by drawing the lines centimeter by centimeter not worrying about the big picture but only the lines.
This was the beginning of my path as an art therapist. I had no idea that it will lead all the way there but a tiny seed in me started to sprout which hasn’t stopped growing since. I got more self-confident. “If I can do this, I can do more.” - I thought to myself. Therefore, I decided to deal with my further inhibitions and misbeliefs. My singing voice was not great either. Once I was asked to go for a walk when participated in the choir in preparation of a student exchange program. School really did not help the attempts of my artistic expression…
As a next step, I went to a singing teacher and asked her to help me find my clear voice. Until then I was afraid of singing even in the shower to myself. After just about 10 sessions I was glad because I had no more inhibitions and my voice suddenly became a much clearer one. I am not going to be an opera singer but I am fine singing along with anybody or just to myself without any discomfort.
And why am I telling all this? It is because in my work as a supervisor, coach and art therapist I find that people carry a waste amount of shame, inhibitions and misbeliefs about their creative abilities. The abilities that would be tools to relax, to be with ourselves, to create beauty, to connect to themselves, to others, to nature.
We don’t have to be a Picasso. We can just draw and sing and paint and write. Just as Kurt Vonnegut said once: “Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.”
And this is what creating art does to us. It keeps us in the moment and makes our soul grow. Without words, without noticing it happening we end up just being and doing.
So what is a better way to prevent a burnout or to show us with all the symbolism of our subconscious where we stand in a difficult life situation or maybe even what are our resources that will help us to get out of it or achieve a goal.
This was my thinking when I first thought of starting an art-based supervision group.
But going back just a little in time when some of us Hungarian supervisors with the initiative of one of our senior supervisors formed a self supporting learning circle to share about books and studies and to teach each other new tools. Each occasion somebody had the role of presenting something new, something that we can learn from.
I decided to talk about art therapy possibilities in supervision. As I was preparing for our session, I got more and more excited. I always used creative tools in my supervision and coaching work but having thought about it deeply, putting these tools more in a structure to be able to share them made me realize that the possibilities are more than I ever thought before. Seeing the reaction of my supervisor colleagues to creating art and their reflections on it convinced me that I have to discover even more this field. As one of the participants put it at the end of our session: “From now on I will always have a small ball of modeling clay in my pocket when I go to my supervision sessions.”
(excerpt from my article for the ANSE journal)
The picture is my first canvas painting.