Quotes from Essays on the Creative Arts Therapies: Imaging the Birth of a Profession by David Read Johnson
“I am one person, yet I am all of these, a drama therapist, a creative arts therapist, a mental health professional, a health care provider, and a suffering person. Each of us faces this challenge, to be one, and to be many. The capacity to integrate experience: our feelings, thoughts, roles, and identities into one whole, while maintaining an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of the parts, this indeed is the challenge of development, of growth, of maturity.” (p. 36)
From Essays on the Creative Arts Therapies: Imaging the Birth of a Profession by David Johnson (1999):
As artists, therapists, and (mostly) women, creative arts therapists have experienced a sizable amount of humiliation in the course of their careers. (p. 66)
To choose a career as a creative arts therapist often means stretching the tolerance of one’s family and entering a world where one is not understood or appreciated. (p. 67)
Empowerment also means carrying the burden of past abuse that we do not pass on to those who follow us: to support others, when we were shamed; to mentor others, when we were not mentored; to remain positive when what we experienced was negative. (p. 71)
Progress will mean experiencing the emergence of power from within our ranks. (p. 73)
In order for us to move forward in contributing to American health care, we need to be able to collaborate closely with each other; we need to be able to form a larger entity with greater strength and unity. (p. 74)
Institutional space is largely complex. Because of the levels and layers built up within institutional spaces, there are often many chances for dysfunction to form. This is probably true of any work environment, particularly a large work environment. Office politics happen, but who would have thought they also happen within institutional settings that are created to provide a therapeutic environment for treatment?
Institutional burnout isn’t a new idea, but maybe prevention can be explored further.
David Johnson is direct. He says what I’ve picked up on in my little experience as a graduate student. He puts into words the experiences of trying to form an identity in the field. But what I like about David Johnson the most is his ability to separate from the negative and move into the hopeful and potential aspects of making progress in the field by focusing on the importance of collaborating and providing community support for each other in our respective fields.
From Psychoanalytic Diagnosis by Nancy McWilliams:
A markedly nonnarcissistic attitude toward offspring informs the remarks of an 85-year-old friend of mine who reared 12 children during the Depression, all of whom have turned out well, despite borderline poverty and some painful losses:
“Every time I’d get pregnant, I’d cry. I’d wonder where the money would come from, how I was going to nurse this child and take care of everything else. But around the fourth month I’d begin to feel life, and I’d get all excited, thinking, ‘I can’t wait till you come out and I find out who you are!'”
Love yourself. Make peace with who you are and where you are at this moment in time.
Listen to your heart. If you can’t hear what it’s saying in this noisy world, make time for yourself. Enjoy your own company. Let your mind wander among the stars.
Try. Take chances. Make mistakes. Life can be messy and confusing at times, but it’s also full of surprises. The next rock in your path might be a stepping-stong.
Be happy. When you don’t have what you want, want what you have. Make do. That’s a well-kept secret of contentment.
There aren’t any shortcuts to tomorrow. You have to make your own way. To know where you’re going is only part of it. You need to know where you’ve been, too. And if you ever get lost, don’t worry. The people who love you will find you. Count on it.
Life isn’t days and years. It’s what you do with time and with all the goodness and grace that’s inside you. Make a beautiful life… the kind of life you deserve.