Art therapy – dénouement

Amelia artwork # 868 (limited edition, unsigned)

Amelia artwork # 868 (limited edition, unsigned)

It’s been six weeks since Amelia started her Expressive Therapies sessions with JM and it looks like the program has reached its natural conclusion.

The aim of the program is not to make children dependent on their relationship with the therapist (she’s not their friend) or the act of attending each week. It isn’t kindergarten and she’s not grooming little Picassos.

The ‘bridging’ that JM has tried to facilitate, is between Amelia’s subterranean interior world (40,000 leagues under the sea) and life – family, friends, events – played out above the horizon.

I don’t think it’s possible to make grand statements or draw firm conclusions about the outcomes yet. But, Amelia does seem more present to me, a little less manic and slightly more patient. The biggest challenge is to see how far she can control her emotional pendulum from swinging to extremes.

During last week’s session, Amelia created the picture shown above, spending a whole hour perfecting it. She worked determinedly and did not break her concentration or leave her seat. For JM it was an excruciating wait for the creative muse to finish its flow through my daughter, but I love how full of colour and verve it is.

Later that week, she went with her kinder class to a farm and excited everyone with her joyous participation in the outing. In broken speech, Amelia told me all about how she was gentle with the rabbits, that her favourite animal was the horse and how funny it was that everyone fell asleep on the bus except her.

Because she was too jazzed, too alive to this new experience, to waste it with sleep.


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