Come to my Expressive Arts workshop at the online EXPRESSIVE THERAPIES SUMMIT 2022

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I want to invite you to my session and all the Expressive Arts session taking place at the EXPRESSIVE THERAPIES SUMMIT October 28-30th! The link is here.

The title of my presentation is Expressive Arts for Sense-Making in Situations of Complexity and Ambiguity.

I want to show that the Expressive Arts Practice is a systemic intervention. As a human being, you are a Complex Adaptive System. That means that there are many aspects or parts to the person you are, and these aspects are interconnected and interdependent, and they can learn and adapt.

Expressive Arts is helpful because you can explore these different aspects and deal with the embodied energetic changes that happen in situations of complexity and ambiguity. These situations involve CHANGE in your environment or within yourself.

Some examples of these situations are: that you are moving to a different country, that you are changing jobs, that you are now single and used to be married, or that you have become an empty nester. Those are situations of complexity and ambiguity because the actions you will take have to do with the person you are or want to become.

So, new and different aspects of your identity will enter into action, and some old elements will be left behind or released because they are no longer relevant in your new “Here and Now.” 

An easy way to describe your situation for an Expressive Arts Session is in the shape of a question, for example: How will I conduct my life now that I am an empty-nester and moving to a different country and stay balanced, productive, fully engaged, vibrant, and create community?

With Expressive Arts, instead of avoiding or pushing away the powerful emotions that arise due to change, (such as fear, or paralysis from internal obstacles, like your inner critic,) you can feel these emotions while being supported by the art activity until the emotions leave your body spontaneously.

Different aspects of yourself can surface when you create art about the current situation in a very organic and fully embodied way with expressive arts. When working with a painting, a dance, or playing a drum, you can feel those feelings and not suppress them or push them aside.

You may discover that you feel exhausted in the middle of your painting because your inner perfectionist is saying that if it’s not going to be perfect, then don’t bother doing this. This message is a discovery you can translate into your life because what you say to yourself during an Expressive Arts session and daily life is interconnected and interdependent.

Your strategies are self-similar in a fractal pattern. The mental strategies you apply for your very intimate life are also the ones you use for your more public, expanded life. As a systemic approach, Expressive Arts can allow you to see them in LIVE ACTION.

Within the art-making, you can feel and observe the energy fluctuations that can make you feel afraid, paralyzed or frozen when facing changes in your life. Without awareness or consciousness about these fluctuations, you could stay there for a while. But if you have a solid Expressive Arts practice, you’re better able to express and discover these energy fluctuations, understand them and let them go. Expressive Arts as a systemic intervention shortens the time of clinging to outdated strategies and values that no longer serve you in your new situation.

Practical Description 

In the three-hour workshop, I will briefly introduce the perspective that expressive arts is a systemic intervention that allows you to see your patterns in Live Action. These patterns repeat across different areas of life, like Fractal patterns. We, humans, are complex adaptive systems with many interconnected parts, interdependent, and capable of learning.

what will transpire during the workshop

After that short presentation, we will pose our question that is most alive in us at this moment, or that we want to work on or investigate. 

For example: “How can I advance my career and maintain flexibility and joy?

So, you bring your question and write it down carefully, and then we’ll set it aside for the moment.

And then, we will have a short physical movement intervention in which we will talk about our inner critic and what the inner critic has to say about our question. What

messages does it have? For example, “what you want is impossible,” or “it’s not important,” or “just be normal.”

whatever the inner critic has to say, we will write it down.

And then we’ll stand up and do our moving meditation about the inner supporter. We will consider what the inner supporter has to say about our question. Maybe “you can do it “or “be patient and keep striving.” “your desire is the way,” “connect with people,” “People want to help you make this happen,” “don’t worry. It’s going to be fine. If you get tired, take a rest, recover, and then come back out again.”

“I will protect you. I will protect your vision for this work. I will protect your interests. I will help you.”

The inner protector can have many different messages and many different looks.

So it’s interesting to try on also what you hear from somebody else in the workshop. What another person’s inner protector is telling them could be something your protector will be inspired by and want to say to you as well.

After we have done this moving meditation, we will capture some phrases from the inner critic and the inner protector. So we understand who we’re dealing with.

Then we go back to our question. We open it up again.

“how will I advance my career and be guided by joy?”

Now we make spontaneous art, a drawing or a painting, whatever your body wants to create, so go for it.

Thirty minutes to draw to paint, and then we’ll have 10 minutes to write freely about this topic.

And we will include in the writing completing the sentences “I am…” and “I feel….”

And also, 

“Although my inner critic says these things, out of fear…”

“My inner supporter says these other things out of a more comprehensive vision, out of courage, out of a broader picture, out of the desire to contribute to others…”  or, you know, whatever are the drivers of your inner supporter.

what tools/skills will be taught/explored

1. Use of the question approach.

2. Explore the inner critic and inner supporter with movement and text in a group setting

3. An artwork that will offer a wider perspective regarding the answer to your question.

Lorena Fernandez, Ph.D.

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I am an artist and Person-Centered Expressive Arts educator. This blog is for sharing my creative work, including demos of intuitive painting, interviews, and other things. Lorena Fernandez