As neuroscience begins to affirm the plasticity of the physical brain, that we are able to repair, shape and grow it through our actions and behaviours, we can see how therapeutic activity can help this process. So what are the values in effective therapeutic activity?
THE PROVISION OF AN OPPORTUNITY AND SPACE TO:
Express feelings or thoughts, particularly those which have been unable to be communicated, pushed down, hidden or have felt overwhelming, confusing or irrational.
Bring unconscious material, habits and patterns into awareness, unlock complex knots of feelings, create possibility of moving out of repetitive or cyclical thoughts, release tensions or stresses tied to difficult emotions.
Work through difficult experiences from past or present, heal wounds and repair damage where we have been hurt, create our own personal medicine and so restore ourselves.
Rid ourselves of feelings of anxiety, stuckness, blockages or emptiness, connect with change and growth within ourselves, and so enable transformation.
Understand ourselves better, create something from our difficulties and challenges, bring creativity, inspiration and insight into our lives.
Practice communicating what is inside us and so improve our ways of communicating with others, improve or repair relationships, allow us to feel more comfortable in social or family situations.
Build healthy, positive boundaries within us that help us take care of ourselves and interact healthily with others. Gain tools and healthy alternatives to coping mechanisms that may have become irrelevant or harmful in some way
Be seen, listened to and compassionately witnessed by another person, rather than ignored, in a safe environment, to see and listen to ourselves, take better care of and learn to appreciate ourselves.
Allow us to understand and tell our own story – our journey through life – events, memories, feelings, perhaps what happened before we were born, see how it all weaves together, where parts feel missing, unfinished or cut off, recognise what is significant or precious in that history.
To help us to see what it is that is personally important to us, to help us to find our own focus in a world of distractions.
Get a bigger understanding of the world and all its parts including the natural world- in both breadth and depth, help to cultivate a sense of interconnectedness and a wonder at our world rather than feeling overwhelmed, disturbed or threatened by it.
Create a strong fluid link between our inner and outer worlds and so become more coherent and in harmony with the world around us, integrate all the different light and dark parts of ourselves into a rounded whole person who feels real.
Bring bodily awareness.
Connect to the present moment, help us to see things the way they really are, develop perspective.
Build an awareness of our physical body, our inner organs and our heart, through engagement with our senses and sensations and creative exploration of visceral themes, and so help build a healthy grateful relationship with our bodies, to recognise its importance.
Consider human questions about existence – where we came from or what happens when we or our loved ones die and how we come to terms with the reality of that
Feel comfortable in our own skin, be able to feel authentic and be able to speak from that real place as part of our everyday life,
Engage in a process of awakening, allow us to feel more alive and less numb, open us up to different realms within ourselves, bring a centring, calming or peaceful feeling back into our lives.
Bring meaning back into our lives, help us see the meaning in our lives and feel that our lives are meaningful.
Help us do something active.
Help with self esteem, pride and confidence.
Feeling that you are in a safe enough and comfortable enough space to take a little risk or experiment, to say or do something you usually wouldn’t, something you would like to do or say but have never dare, never been brave enough, too worried about what people might think.