Category Archives: Creative Arts Therapy

Rough Road/Path photos

I have been involved in facilitating groups for decades. One of the tools I use for groups of adults, teens, or children are photos. I use photos as a way for folks to become familiar and used to talking and sharing in a group. As a way to indirectly share something of themselves by talking about an image/photo. As a way to begin a conversation about larger issues or deeper issues.

One set of photos I use are Rough Road/Path photos with alcohol addicts and heroin addicts in the beginning of recovery. I spread the photos out on a table and ask the group (usually 10 to 15 men) to pick out one photo that represents their journey in the week or weeks before they came into rehab. Once everyone has chosen a photo I ask them to (one at a time) hold up the photo, describe the photo and why they chose it. The descriptions and stories they tell come from them, their experiences and begin the process of revealing a bit about their lives.

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Dance Movement Therapy and Children

Dance Movement Therapist (DMT) practice in a wide variety of settings. One example is DMT’s who work with children and their care givers (such as parents) in a safe, structured and creative environment. In this type of setting DMT’s observe interactions such as how and when a child moves toward and away from their care giver. A DMT might use the Kestenberg Movement Profile (KMP) to observe the natural developmental based rhythms, attunements and clashes of the child and care giver as they play and interact. For instance, a child may have a gradual rhythm and moves slowly into activities and the care giver may have a more aggressive/biting rhythm. A cash of rhythms occurs when the care giver pushes the child into activities at the care giver’s rhythm and not the child’s. The result is the child will often resist the care giver and the more the care giver pushes the more the child resists.
One successful outcome of this situation is to teach the care giver how to attune to the natural physical, mental and emotional rhythms of the child. When the care giver attunes to the child, the child begins to attune to the care giver and instead if resisting each other’s rhythms they begin to “move” together.

Poetry Writing with Clients

Writing a poem for the first time can be intimidating, but there are many possible ways to get started. In this post I’ll talk about just one of them, which is a list poem.
Defining a Poem
The first step when introducing poetry to clients is to define poetry. Show what a poem looks like on a page. Explain that a poem is usually short, and that each line has a fixed length. It uses carefully-chosen language to express a feeling, and sometimes uses rhythm, rhyme, or repetition.
Writing a List Poem

A list poem is a poem in which each line begins the same way. List poems are wonderful for beginning writers especially, because the start of each line is provided, creating a comfortable way in (at least I have this part that I can write, and know I’m spelling it correctly). A list poem can be simple and powerful. One client, who struggles with depression, wrote a poem in which each line begins, “I love” followed by one thing that makes her feel happy.
5 Tips for Writing a Successful List Poem:
Read poems together as a group, to get clients familiar with the sounds and rhythms of it. After reading a poem, ask if there is any line that clients like or find interesting. Ask why they like it, what makes it stand out. Keep your ear open for things clients say—does something sound like a list poem? “Every morning I…” “I want to read…” “If I had a million dollars I’d…” “I love the way…” The possibilities are endless.
When clients are ready to begin writing, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Be specific
Help clients bring their poems to life by including specific details. In other words, show, don’t tell. “I wake up early,” becomes, “I wake up at 3:00 am every morning to go to work.” Instead of “I cook Chinese food” help the client write, “I cook catfish with spicy sauce.”
2. Five senses
Can you see this poem? Can you hear it? Smell it? Feel it? Taste it? Is this poem bringing a world to life? If not, think about describing with the five senses.
3. Order
Pay attention to the order of the list. Does it have a beginning? A middle? An end? Does it need an additional line to bring it to a close?
4. Word Choice
Think about word choice. Could another word be more effective? Sometimes beginning writers want to use the word “beautiful,” but write “nice” instead because it is easier to spell. Help the writer actualize the poem in her mind.
5. Edit
Don’t be afraid to edit. ‘Make it Messy’ is a good mantra for first drafts. They should have crossed out parts and additions. Are any items in the list extraneous? Are there unnecessary repetitions? Help students build the confidence to edit themselves.