As a psychotherapist, I know that the more we reveal of ourselves—the more aspects of ourselves that dance together—the more whole we are. These aspects often reside in the hidden realms of the psyche. They come to us in dreams, images, art, and our spontaneous expressions. When we pay attention to them, we are able to integrate undeveloped and disowned self-parts into consciousness. SoulCollage® is a portal into wholeness whose language is the particularity of an unconscious process brought to light.
Like a fish to water, my client said, after completing her first SoulCollage®. I am the fish and the water, and this process is big enough for all of me. l let the images do the work and step out of their way. I dive into the water.
Typically, clients come to therapy seeking “healing” for some kind of fracture or wounding. SoulCollage® is a powerful tool for addressing such fracturing, as it provides the opportunity to uncover and explore multiple self-aspects in a creative and self-affirming way.
SoulCollage® helps people look at discrete life experiences in fresh and accessible ways. In effect, all therapy entails a “breaking apart”—of the stories we tell about ourselves and others; of fixed ways of being; of encrusted self-aspects. SoulCollage® is fun and intuitive way to foster this “breaking apart.” In one client’s words, To the extent that I know the most subtle and remote parts of myself, I can reconstitute myself whole. I can’t imagine a better way to find wholeness than with the collages and the writing that comes from them.
To make a card, you begin by looking at a large number of images. Those holding the greatest resonance are the ones that grab attention. In effect, the images choose you. Intuitively, you know that they are meaningful, although you may not know why.
You play with them, cut them, and glue the cut pieces onto a 5” x 8” board to create a SoulCollage® card. You will likely feel a mix of surprise and pleasure, and as you sit with this card, it will begin you reveal its nature. You can then journal by asking this image to tell you about itself.
If you continue to make cards, you are, essentially, creating a visual journal that entails making collages, journaling, writing poetry and other expressive forms, and continuing to consult the images over time.
Using this intuitive, experiential method, clients can look into the face of shyer and hidden processes. They can go into dialogue with shame-based processes, bring traumas to light and come into relationship with deeply-held shadow material.
SoulCollage® can help clients regulate affects. Each SoulCollage® card, in effect, provides the opportunity to externalize problem areas, and in this way clients learn to narrate their lives in new and freer ways. In this way, people can go into dialogue with themselves and move away from the monologues that reinforce “stuckness.”
When a client makes a collage card and takes it home, the card serves as a transitional object that the client can leave out and return to over and again, in order to anchor new insights, affects, cognitions and behaviors.
In my therapeutic experiences, I have used SoulCollage® to address the following issues:
- affective disorders and anxiety
- dream work
- crises of confidence
- relationship issues and couples therapy
- grief and loss
- eating disorders and weight loss
- accessing childhood memories
- shadow work
- stress management
- honoring memory
- building self-affirming psychic structures and bolstering ego
- reducing shame and hopelessness
- identifying and naming emotions, thoughts, beliefs
- challenging compulsive behaviors
- trusting one’s “voice”
- integrating disowned self-parts
- opening the imaginations
- fostering creativity
As a tool for self-exploration, SoulCollage® is well suited to clinical practice. It is accessible, affirming, empowering and deepening. The collages reveal unconscious and shadow material in a non-pathological manner. They provide a creative approach to the essential therapeutic intentions of integration and individuation through increasing consciousness and self-acceptance.
For further information, go to the SoulCollage®, website at www.soulcollage.com
In her practice, Nancy Weiss LCSW BCD focuses on the interface of spirit and psyche. She taught at Antioch University and supervised MFT Interns for over two decades. Nancy is a collage artist and poet, and uses SoulCollage® regularly with clients, blending depth psychology, dream work, and expressive arts. She facilitates SoulCollage® groups for professionals, schools, non-profits and other organizations.
NANCY L. WEISS, LCSW, BCD
email: [email protected] ; phone: 323-934-5484