The team here really are going above and beyond to help me cope with an operation that my mum is having at the end of the week, and their willingness to be flexible and supportive means that I will get to be there for here at the most important times whilst making sure that I get through it as emotionally unscathed as possible. When I thanked them for all they are doing, the above was their response. Words that are hard to take on and truly believe but that they are proving their belief of it to me through actions.
My placement is based upon the Mentalization Based Treatment model; this is a NICE recommended, evidence-based treatment for personality disorders (although it is less well-known than DBT). I’ve had a day where I’ve needed some help distracting myself and keeping busy, so one of the MBT Practitioners here asked me to have a go at summarising Mentalization and the model we work with in to something that can be transformed in to a booklet for staff members (e.g. HCAs and nurses who haven’t had specific training in MBT) and new patients.
This is my first draft and I thought it might be useful to share it more widely for anyone curious about MBT as I know I struggled to find easily-accessible material when this placement was suggested to me.
Still the best way I can represent mental health (despite many changes in diagnosis, treatment, contact with mental health services and so much more) are through my original doodles, so I thought it was time to share them again today:
Today I created a range of motivational mental health related posters with a doodled ‘wise hedgehog’ and colourful mixed media design whilst at the Acute Community Unit.
I’m not sure where the combination came from, but out popped this first one with a message that I myself really need reminding of:
As well as one that sprung from a difficult conversation I had just had with the crisis team manager:
With 2 other mental health themed ones:
And one more to do with art/creativity:
After a lot of enthusiasm on Twitter and some requests, I have put these designs up for sale on Zazzle- whether you yourself would like a reminder of any of these messages or if you know someone whose day might be brightened by receiving one of these…Posters can be purchased from this link: https://www.zazzle.co.uk/thedoodlechronicles
Plus, if you buy in the next few days, you can get 20% off with the code JULYSAVINGS20.
Let me know what you think about my wise little hedgehog… 🙂
Art therapy for me is a valuable and unique way of experiencing and expressing my thoughts, feelings and emotions – and sometimes a rare chance to just be a bit playful or make something a bit pretty, depending on what is going on for me at the time. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a month’s worth of sessions (once or twice weekly, depending on bank holidays and the therapist’s leave) which come to an end on Monday so I thought now was a good opportunity to reflect upon what I’ve created over the past month.
From the start of this batch of sessions, the Art Psychotherapist, who has worked with me before, decided that a great project for me would be for me to try to test out creating very large, free, uncontrolled pieces where possible as I tend to let perfectionism and anxiety hold me back into creating very small and controlled pieces rather than letting my time in art therapy tap into the more raw emotions. We’ve both been pleased with the results of this project and the difference we have noticed in me whilst I create these pieces. It has been freeing and a completely new experience for me.
So, what have I done? Below is a taster. Most of these are created on A2 or A1 paper, mainly using paint (whether that me using standard brushes, rollers, sponges, fingers, or even squirting straight from the bottle), but sometimes using pens or pastels or a mix of media. Some of it is much more a reflection of my internal state whilst others were more about trying to be a bit playful and have some fun. I hope this gives some insight into what Art Therapy can look like.
I’d really recommend anyone who has the opportunity gives art therapy a go; it is nothing to do with ‘Art’ or ‘talent’ or ‘ability’ but about connecting to and expressing your thoughts/feelings/emotions or being a bit playful at times when that feels impossible. I hadn’t done any kind of art since the start of secondary school (and even then that was begrudgingly) when I first tried art therapy, and believe me I was beyond sceptical, but look at all that is has sparked in me since…!