I was sitting here and wondering what to blog about and I thought about my week and my clients and how I enjoy so much when they make even the tiniest bit of progress…it keeps me going. I have an adult who loves to paint, he was having a really bad week and was feeling depressed. I had him take all of his feelings and paint them out, however he wanted to. He painted a country scene, used a lot of orange paint for the clouds and golden yellow for the sky… he is a great painter and looking at the picture you really wouldn’t know he was so depressed, it could almost be a autumn scene. I left the picture out and a few days later my 11 year old client was looking at the picture and she said out of the blue, “I get it, that’s a picture of feelings and whoever painted it must have been sad” I said yes, you are right. She immediately said she wanted to paint her feelings… she painted a beautiful scene but added lightning bolts and two tornados and cut out a hole in the middle of them.
When she explained her feelings she said she feels like her mother doesn’t love her because her mother is always yelling at her and says she wishes she would die (her mom has fleeting suicidal thoughts and tells her daughter about them). The next time she came in she said she wanted to fix her painting…she took a piece of paper and drew a superhero with arms out shooting hearts and love at the tornados. She said she is the superhero and she feels much happier today and was home thinking about the painting and had to fix it. She said she loves her mom and knows her mom loves her. The next week the adult client who painted the first painting noticed the painting of the 11 year old and wanted to put a sticky note on it saying how much he liked her art, so he did… anonymous of course. Then he donated art supplies to us and said it made him feel good even though his life is a mess.
I just had to share this with you and hopefully you too get as much joy out of reading it as I did experiencing this interaction.
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder