Meet Sara, the not-so-expressive art therapist
Me: "Sara, I recently learned from another clinic owner that I am supposed to showcase or highlight therapists on social media... like a video convo or interview sort of thing. [I made a face]. I don't know how we can do this authentically...this weird mix of who we are and what we do."
Sara: "Yeah... I am not very good at describing myself..."
Me: "Yeah, I don't think this neurotypical process is going to work for us. "
Sara: "I am finding that recently I am losing the ability to articulate words."
Me: "like spoken words?"
Me: "but that someone treasured and valued within the neurodivergent community. Also, you have no problem with it in the imaginal realm."
Sara: [Nods]. "I am definitely better in the imaginal world"
Dennis walked by and I filled him in on what we are doing. He blurted out at Sara direct: "Sensitive." Walk a couple of steps forward and back. "but not in a negative way." Then walked away again.
Me: "I have always described you to potential clients as my opposite. I am very energetic and talk a lot, whereas you are okay with silence and way more grounded than I am. My clock tends to be faster than everyone else and your clock is slower."
Sara: "Yes... Fast clock and slow clock"
Me: "How about this. Instead of trying to describe ourselves as the ideal therapist, let's describe your ideal client."
Sara: "I am having a struggle recently about what is therapy? What is a therapist? What does it mean to be therapied? What is my role?"
Me: "Well think about your recent client. You look forward to seeing her and she looks forward to seeing you. There is a needfulness there. Something within us that is nourished when we are with a client."
Sara: "I guess I really need to continue to confront the thinking that I need to be saying something or needing to be doing something."
Me: "Exactly! This is a gift you have by default. This is what you already personaify. I am still too activated and hyperactive to let things be. Anyway, ideal client. Don't bother trying to summarize and describe it exactly. Just use it as a starting point for our exploration"
Sara: "Someone feeling misunderstood in the world. Someone with a rich internal world and struggles to connect. Someone who feels joy living through the imaginal realm, thinking in images and expressing themselves through gestures and images.....
I am not very linear...
...It is not needfulness... It is easefulness... just present with somebody...reflection...it is fine to be this way.
I have to face myself and look at myself in order to sit with another person - in the realm of moving toward healing
When I was young, I would have a name and a personality for every pencil and crayon I have. "
Me: Yes a lot of autistic people personify objects and have strong object attachment. Do you have difficulty throwing things away?
Sara: "Well no. Because I know they are just going into a different stage of their life."
Me: "Oh this is related to the morbid camp!"
Sara: Yes, you know I grew up in a funeral home, so I would hang around death and play around with death, people didn't think much about how I played 'oh it's just Sara doing her thing because she grew up in a funeral home'
Me: "Yes, a lot of children with strong object attachment tend to also have a lot of morbid play but people tend to be uncomfortable with it. It makes sense why the two go together now. We need to understand death experientially and ritualistically in order to accept that death is not the beginning and the end of the story."
Sara: "yes, there are lots of rich history and beautiful rituals around death. Sitting with and being with death..."