Talking to the image; a glimpse into Expressive Arts Therapy

In Expressive Arts therapy, it’s a common practice to talk to the images we create and it’s also a practice to listen to the images talk through us. The images, having been created in the intuitive right-brain, seem to express a point of view that often surprises the intellectual left brain.

More times that I can count I have received insight and wisdom from my own self by letting my images talk through me. I also have observed in my therapy practice the surprise and wisdom happening to my clients when they let their images express themselves.

I will recount one particular dialogue with my image that is a great example of the wisdom of the images and the deeper level of communication happening when we allow ourselves to express this intuitive part.

Since I was a child I ‘ve suffered from neck and back pain, following a painful neck injury suffered at age 9. As an adult the injury became chronic and the pain would be debilitating; the rotation of my vertebrae would also make me dizzy.

In a therapy session I drew a lotus flower with blue circles on the sides. Then I allowed the images to speak through me.

This is what the images said:


Image from my journal


I am consciousness, I am the spinal column and the nervous system

I feel existence happening through me

I need balance and I need flow, so that I can grow

I need both feedback from the body and its process of existing, and the light from outside; inner and outer feedback, I need them both

Life and experience illuminate me

I trust the resilience of my nature, my willingness to survive

I trust that with no effort everything will grow the way it needs to grow, it just happens by itself

I fear fear and pain

I fear physical pain from the body and its fragility, and the emotional pain there is in the world

I fear how much suffering I have gone through as well

I know everything I need to know, even if I don’t know that I know or how I know

Because I am a flower, I have all the knowledge. From the seed and how to grow; how to flower; how to create new life

Pain is a part of being human


…to be continued…

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