Things are moving forward, my therapist has now retired and, although hugely traumatic, there is a sense of relief at having finally gone through the process of ending we have been preparing for over the last year.

If you have ever worked through a ending with a therapist you’ll know how much work is involved: building skills and confidence to reassure your younger parts that you will take care of them once your therapist has gone, putting in place other forms of support both informal and formal, searching & interviewing other therapists, reviewing & acknowledging all the work that has been done (mine, 7 hard years) and finally saying goodbye and letting go.

What I didn’t realise is how much energy this took; the fear of the therapist leaving, the dread of not having him there to protect me, the anticipation of abandonment, the searching for another. All deeply destabling forces. I have struggled to be sociable, been exhausted and had physiological illnesses.

Thankfully, I have managed to secure another art psychotherapist within the same service, for how long I don’t know as the NHS service is under threat but at least something is in place because to find another art psychotherapist who understands splitting, complex PTSD, can offer a sliding scale & understands how the nature of socio economic & cultural power is abusive (eg class, sexism etc), seems to be impossible in the private sector. There are a lot of well meaning, unaware, privileged dogooders who charge fees per hour that exceed my weekly income. Therapy is big business.

Rant over. Back to more pleasurable activities, the young parts of my system have needed lots of TLC so I bought them new Posca pens.

This was inspired by my recent trips to Welsh beaches.

The capacity to go deep into myself has been hampered by the threat to the therapeutic relationship, this has changed the art I’m making. It doesn’t feel safe to go to certain places & so there is this surface playing with design, value & colour. It’s fun and light but it doesn’t express the deeper currents. Printing has been fun.

Which lead to collage.

Which lead to drawing.

This is a completely new way of working & I’m not sure I like it, but the young parts in me do, they are leading right now and it is a challenge to create a safe space for them to play, hold my critical voices back & prevent my analytical parts from theorising the work. All I can say is that my work is about nurture, exploration & staying safe at the moment. Important stuff.

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