Pluralistic Practitioners Network: Creativity and Challenge
Following on from Roddie McKenzie’s blog post 18/1/2021, this is an open invitation to all who might be interested in something old, or new, to do in 2021.
Would you like to join our Creative Gatherings, hosted on Zoom, on the last Saturday of each month at 10:00am to 11:00am?
The group was grown of people interested in words, storytelling, journals, and written narratives; but has evolved pluralistically with our preference to encompass other aspects of therapeutically-focussed creativity.
If the answer is ‘yes’, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be sent the link for our next meeting on Saturday 27th February at 10:00a.m.
This is what the amazing members of this group have inspired and challenged me, to find within myself.
I am a pluralistic counsellor in training. At the start of my training I was very sure of all the labels I assigned to myself and unquestioning of the label’s others assigned to me. ‘I despise the written word; I am not creative; and all my demons have been met and securely locked away’.
Reading and writing were implements of torture as a child. I have not, if truth be told, shed the discomfort I feel when faced with a textbook, form, or password. My mind does not naturally hold on to written characters. I can read and write but the information will rarely be cognitively or emotionally available to me unless I translate the words into something my mind can hold. I need to share the words with others discuss and dissect, follow the instructions, or convert the words into an experiential movie.
I joined the ‘story telling’ gathering, to learn from fellow counsellors who adore the written word. I am fuelled by their passion, enthusiasm, and generosity. I needed to know how I might use the written word as a therapeutic tool. How I might deliberately practice an intervention I could suggest to a client who’s preference is to read or write. I implicitly encourage and challenge my clients to step out of their comfort zone. Surely the least I can do is safely step out of mine and possibly collect some tools to add to my counsellors toolbelt.
At the end of each gathering a task or challenge is suggested. We are not a ‘would have, could have, should have’ group. We are all living our lives and sometimes there is time and space, other times there simply is not. There is never an expectation to be any more than you can be at that moment.
I decided to give the suggestion a go. I wrote a letter from myself today, to a younger me. It was a truly horrible couple of hours. The letter is still unfinished. However writing my words, words that I chose in the order I decided, without concerns regarding others criticism or acceptance enabled me to paint new pictures in my mind. I discovered the labels I assign myself and those accepted from others unquestioningly are not absolutes and it is time I started challenging them. I have become limited by my own expectations of myself. I also learned that this task, if I were to explore with a client would be accompanied by a warning as the process unexpectedly set free several of my supposedly caged demons.
Our second challenge. I tried to write, but my mind was back to the familiar fireworks show; whizz, bangs, and scattered lights. I tried all my usual tools to bring some order to my thoughts, but alas I was fighting with my own shadow. I am a master of avoidance, but the passion of the gathering helped fuel me to try something different. I explored ‘self-compassion’ by practicing it. The only words I had written were ‘self-compassion doesn’t feel, taste, or smell like the compassion I feel towards others.’ My analogy was self-compassion was, ‘like wearing a pair of underpants which are several sizes too small!’
As helpful words escaped me, I decided to collect together things I had in the house and try and make something. The picture in my mind was hands gently holding a heart. Not claddagh-style or hand-over-heart chakra. The picture in my mind was a gentle hand holding the heart, behind it, gently supporting it, letting it know it was not alone and had all the strength it needed to face the world and all the light and darkness within.
This is what I created. I am so proud of it, and myself, I agreed to write this blog. To write words that will be judged and assessed. To share this small part of my story and perhaps encourage you to try something different this year. If you are interested I know a great group, we gather last Saturday of each month at 10 am and will welcome you exactly as you are.