ART AS THERAPY
A process connecting sense perception to cognitive behavior
Born into the world with our senses we will:
Train the eye to see,
Train the ear to hear,
Train the hand to touch,
Train the nose to smell and
Train the palette to taste, but we don’t.
What are the senses if not to open the doors of perception to provide context for thought?
Art , by its nature, is therapeutic. The therapeutic cause and effect, in order to succeed or accomplish with some degree of efficacy, peace and tranquility, the therapist should only facilitate and support in the establishment of equilibrium and balance. What is found in all aspects of nature, and that which art endeavors to accomplish, is balance and harmony. Human behavior is profoundly influenced by perception yet we spare little time and effort in our development as a species in the awareness of our environment. It is within the context of nature that we experience the essence of equilibrium and balance. Further, it is perception that begins the process of perspective or perhaps a better understanding is that perception offers a context for thought. One of the principal intentions, historically connected to the accomplishment of art, is and was always to identify and integrate nature and humanity as one. Intrinsic to nature is equilibrium, balance and synchronization of microcosm and macrocosm; collectively, collaboratively and connectively, unifying to form perspective. Our brain, the grand inquisitor, is but a coordinator of our senses, yet by the nature of our imagination it is, when in synch with our senses, heir to our most human essence, intuition as such, love.
We Are All; A PARADOX IN PARADISE:
In a healthy application, human behavior, which is reactive, should first respond to perception, thereby creating a context of clarity and awareness. Therefore, we conclude that perception precedes and takes precedence over concepts. As such, clarity precedes purpose. Perception is instinctual whereby behavior, being reactionary, profoundly influenced by impulse and subject to a potential disconnect from equilibrium, isolation, division, distortion and disproportionality in perspective. When one perceives a thing in isolation or in a vacuum, distortion and disproportionality set in. This occurs in what is called the “psycho-visual” and results frequently in either romantic or minimizing disproportionality. The manic behavior one experiences is due to the abscence of a common context for comparison or contrast. The paradoxical relationship between perception and behavior is comparable to the relationship between the senses and the brain. The two are distinct from one another yet eternally bound and co-dependent. ( pure conjecture but it is perhaps this physiological predisposition that gives birth within our human behaviors to the application of co-dependency. ) Interestingly, that in our psychological infrastructure, our Id is profoundly responsive to our senses, while our ego, by our analytical attempts of control, functions in what appears to be a mutually exclusive relationship. It is this phenomenon that the human, paradoxical behavior, takes shape. It is the undertaking of art that human behavior is subliminally engaged seeking balance and oneness with nature. It is in the natural phenomenon of nature that humanity finds its reference for equilibrium and the bonding of the two predispositions of thought and perception. Should one of these entities exist in isolation from the other, a potential, manic circumstance arises, for it is only in their interaction can we find balance, wholeness and awareness. This would be the contextual circumstance of living in harmonic balance like all of nature, as we might perceive it to be. (Paradise)
The many mediums of art provide a circumstance through which human behavior might accomplish contentment, the personalization and communication or expression of life via perspective. (i.e., in harmonic relationships, ethereal potential or ideals, transcendent of the intellect / logic, accessible only when the senses in conjunction with our brain as coordinator. We have come to understand that only in the interrelationship and dialogue that the senses and the brain give us access to intuition. (also a frame of reference for faith) This is apparent most profoundly in the development of neural pathways, established through experience and engagement in life. Our formative years from 0 to 6 are most identifiable as our innocence. Keeping this in mind and that the process of art is most deeply rooted in discovery, we can utilize this initiative to reestablish within the individual the bliss and inspiration as a means and basis for faith. Therefore the intent of art is to engage the senses in a meaningful interactive manner, by which the brain becomes a participant not a dominant factor in the functionary elements of human experience, can become enlightened. In short sensation is revelation.
Feeling, as represented through sensation, is at the core of art: yet at the core of reactionary behavior, is blindness. Therefore blindness is the issue that therapy should address. The reinvention process is derived from the reevaluation of perspective. The intent of human evolution has always been identified in terms of epistemology or the pursuit of knowledge. This behavior is inherent in all human beings, in fact, on one level or another all of life. Behavior is the result of reactive response to information as in the form of influence and therefore subject to the phenomenon of perception and reactive response known as perspective. It is curious that since the development of logic by the Greeks that humanity has focused its entire developmental evolution on the intellect at the expense and minimization of the senses. Art has been profoundly influenced by this disproportionality throughout history and the human implementation of the process has fluctuated between concept and percept. Periodically we find balance in dialogue, and then reverting back to monologue and concept. It is curious that throughout history the responsiveness of humanity to the development of art has been profound and rich in spirit when the verbal/or conceptual and visual/ or perceptual are proportionate to one another. (ie. 18th century western Europe was deeply rooted in the identity as “the age of sensibility” reactionary to that period, the 19th century brought us the age of “Romanticism”…… the pattern repeats itself throughout civilization from Aristotle, to Kant, to Bergson to Freud, Jung to Proust , in every direction and in every medium of expression. We are reactionary as a species, yet always in pursuit of equilibrium between feeling and emotion.
Developing a methodology;
In order to develop a methodology, a process through which a goal can be systematically accomplished with measurable degrees of efficacy, one must be completely familiar with the tools, the instruments of the craft that one will implement. For example, in the undertaking of art as therapy, any attempt to inspire an individual to make manifest growth and development, one must first understand the medium, in the case of art, perception (sensation and feeling). In this undertaking the individual (therapist) must be engaged in his or her own development of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing as to provide a context through which art can be realized as a tool of perception. (The need for the therapist to be continually active in their own art is founded with the understanding that the goal is to inspire not to teach, the recipient of the process must teach themselves while the therapist role is to inspire faith and conviction in the client.) Therefore the individual who chooses to use art as a method through which therapy can be provided effectively in the development and growth of the individual, one must be constantly engaged in his or her own development and awareness. (it is only through the mutual collaboration of discovery that one might share the acts of inspiration and in that collaboration create a bond of trust and mutual understanding)) The attempt for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, analysts and scientists to engage in art as a method for influencing in or addressing behavior without such an awareness would be ineffective and arbitrary. So too, would be the case when an artist, though they may be engaged in the development and growth of perception, if they do not have an expertise in the recognition of behavior, as manifest by the individual execution of the exercise, the process of art or rendering of nature, this too becomes ineffective and misdirected as to the subjective circumstances of behavior, might be interpreted without a basis for conclusion. Therefore, art as therapy, can provide the capacity to connect the individual’s perception to their behavior.
In the course of any given session introduction/lecture is offered to provide a functional context for a specific behavior. This takes place as part of the process to engage the intellect in a noteworthy identification of circumstance. In effect, there are two rationales accomplished in this introduction. The first being to engage the intellect in the narrative, in so doing, to satisfy and help modulate degrees of focus to clear the way for the senses to become activated on demand. It is almost a hypnotic circumstance through which a narrative becomes a historical and behavioral representation of what is about to transpire when the art lesson will actually take place. The historical context and behavioral circumstance should be relevant, intelligent, delivered without condescension, didactic presentation or pretense. In short, a lecture that provides information or content consistent with the issues for which the individual is to be treated. Therefore a specific lecture engaging the individuals with dialogue and interaction that provide intellectual awareness of circumstance and behavior consistent with that narrative. An example would be to address the issue of surrender and process.
The brief lecture might address such a phenomenon in a historical context such as the surrender of the Japanese in World War II. Developing the entire historical context for which surrender though terribly apparent was not undertaken and the questions why, how, when and the results therein as referenced in a historical context to provide authenticity and credibility to this very specific behavior. The lectures should always be based on simplicity and concise recognition or factual representation. When properly presented i.e. a journalist representing an event of a newspaper without opinion or prejudice but merely providing factual information pertinent to the soon to be understood behavior which would not be introduced as judgment by the speaker but arrived at by the individuals. At this juncture the individuals being treated have a point of reference to draw their own conclusions as to the effects of behavior but more importantly their intellect is engaged and no longer speculating or surmising what they can or cannot accomplish in the exercise.
Example; a lecture for a two hour session might last for a maximum of 45 minutes but not less than 30 minutes. However within that lecture there will be an identification of the process that will be implemented in the connect ability to relate the experience of the exercise to the behavior of the individual will begin.
In this exercise, the undertaking or process will be continuity drawing. In order for one to succeed in this exercise the brain must surrender to the eye. Continuity drawing, which is one of many methods, implemented in the development of an artist and their ability to draw correlation and connectivity to the tactile sense is a very old exercise and one of many that might be implemented in teaching an individual correlation of eye hand coordination. For an individual to succeed at this exercise the brain must surrender to the eye yet still be in collaboration but must take a backseat the direction the VI will trap and simply accept what the eye presents without contradiction, denial or distrust. As the individuals begin the application process there I will attach itself to a contour of any circumstance within their proximity and follow those contours wherever they may lead without ever breaking the line of continuity. The direction of the line will be identified on the piece of paper as the individual identifies the journey that they make throughout the space they occupy. What is essential in this methodology is to provide a behavioral context for patterns will arrive in their application process and then connects those circumstances on a parallel basis to the same sort of human behaviors that will affect or influence their behaviors as they go forward. The implementation of this process were undertaking of the art method will often provide a clear yet innocent agenda of behavior consistent with what might cause the individual to react in a normal day-to-day circumstance. Issues such as denial, obsession or fixation, control, impulsive and aggressive patterns that relate to anxiety, priorities and disproportionality’s tied to expectations and dismissive behavioral patterns will all make themselves known. It is important to note that these are only human behaviors that exist on the subliminal level and like all behaviors are simply learned this does not in any way suggest they are written in stone or that the individual cannot create new behaviors. It is in no way an attempt to define the individual but to give the individual the awareness of what might be the influences that cause this person to function in a reactionary manner.
When the individual has finished their work the therapist will take the work and expose it to the entire group. One must identify the circumstance from which this work has arrived as a form of innocence because at the undertaking of the exercise the individual’s mind is preoccupied with the content of the lecture and the intellectualizing of what they must do in engaging the exercise. When the work is exposed before the other individuals or the group the successes and failures of the rendering become identifiable, recognizable and yet nonthreatening. They expose the predispositions of the individuals who undertake the exercise to the entire group who have in some way experienced similar basic behaviors and now have the ability to equate those behaviors in a historical context of their own past and the potential that can be realized by addressing those behaviors in a healthier context.
It is essential that the therapist be cognizant of both the behavioral patterns that manifest themselves in the exercises therefore they should be trained in behaviorism in no less degree than their own development of perception. It is one without the presence of the other that a disservice is provided for the individual in that there is not a state of progressive development underlying the process. It is the connect ability of behavior and perception that enables the individual to have a context from which they can objectively, in all of their innocence, be inspired to move forward in the world of awareness, awakening and arrive at equilibrium.
This methodology can be implemented and provide a sound and effective means of awareness for any predisposition, neurologically, biochemically or simple human behaviors of influence and isolation. I have developed 22 different applications specific to the process of recovery and those learning methods of perception that are intrinsic to all art training from music to the visual arts, from theater to literature and beyond, the method is organic and symbiotic to human circumstance needed to be addressed. Although the current application is specific to the process of recovery, the human behavior patterns exist everywhere and in every human paradox. One needs only to understand the culture to which the method need be applied and develop the historical context in the lecture element to implement this methodology in a similar manner. Depression, obsessive compulsive behavior, attention deficit hyper disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anger and rage, isolation, lethargic or euphoric manic reaction and a host of others regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic or life circumstance, predisposition neurologically or biochemically, the cognitive awareness consensual development are essential to the participation and success of the individual seeking treatment. As to the therapeutic elements, the act and implementation of the process in each case; undertaken herein; synchronicity, impulse v instinct, continuity, color as temperature, less is more, jazz abstraction, inside out, still life and self-portrait……… 22 of them, the mere undertaking and implementation is by its nature, therapeutic.
Each method will address a series of individual behavioral circumstances. This process is in no way designed to define the person, but to help in the awareness and recognition of behavioral issues that underlie and influence reaction/response. The individual has developed predispositions like neural-pathways, that might provoke behaviors underlying choices and decisions that are inconsistent with or distortive from what would otherwise be healthy and prosperous in their nature. These distortive behaviors will lead to preconceived notions and prejudice responses to reactive response often tied to (neuropath way) triggers that pave the way to relapse. In each exercise I attempt to identify certain behaviors and then relate them to those consistent with those parallel with underlying behaviors found in relapse.
Synchronicity: Collaboration, projection, seeing beyond the disease,
altering perspective, allowing it to come to your rather than chasing it
Tools of perception: :tools that render simplicity rather than complexity,
only by implementing can one learn how to use them, equate responsibility to freedom by one giving context to the other.
Less is More: reference to the act of moving on to the next part of the journey
in recovery: show how life presents prosperity and one has to be open to allowing it in (economy of means)
Jazz: introduction to the abstract: using Picasso and the drive of the ego to control a in so doing, one self medicates, how is it that we can remain true to our organic connections to nature and accomplish the internal sense of equilibrium. How arrogance is at the root of expectations that life in and of itself might not be enough. (Hudson River scenario or the thought of getting high before one attends a concert with the anticipation that it will improve the show in some manner)
Self-Portrait: ego and control out of context. Open with perfect circle, conclude
with mirror and premise of “faith in life and trust in one’s self”
Inside Out: Identify two basic behavioral patterns of relapse in simplicity
and boredom. (Simplicity in that the simple acceptance of a thing for what it is and thrive on it. Where anxiety encroaches upon one day at a time and alters the peace and tranquility with expectations and anticipation.
Color as Temperature: How we can turn to ourselves in the moment of an impulse (only if we love ourselves) identify the images on the two realities: the story of Einstein and the acceptance that there is space between instead of nothing. Perception gives us opportunity, faith found therein. Using color, space and imagination in the context of human potential, we find faith.
Still life; Reality v Actuality : proportionality and balance, continuity, objects
relative to one another rather than in isolation from one another. Stop time to hold on to the moment to remind us that life is precious and if we can own the moment as life presents itself, it is eternal.
Continuity: surrender, acceptance, implementation, reinvention> success.
The story of the Japanese in historical context: Conspiracy: does the brain conspire to bypass or destroy the senses? Continuous flowing line, unbroken based on the brain surrendering to the eye and the honorable self. In place, one might maintain a continuous line throughout the room for the rest of their lives without a break and tied to one’s honor once one finds oneself “off of the page”
Works in Progress: Collaborators or Co-Dependency:
The distinction between influence and identity.
Where collaboration benefits and compliance becomes the prospect of lost identity.