The Impossible Art Therapy Project


The Impossible Art Therapy Project

I have been working (or not working, as the case may be) on an Art Therapy project since May.  I had written out a flow chart of where I am now to where I want to be (miserably depressed to radiant) and showed it to the Art Therapist.  He had this great idea that I should make a 3-D representation of the flow chart and assigned it for homework.

I felt like it was an impossible task…How could I take this flow chart of words and turn it into a project? How could I convey something that was easy to put down into flat words on flat paper into something 3-D?  I really struggled and finally came up with something that mostly satisfied me.

This is the project and how it goes together.



I made fabric dolls and connected them via strips of fabric that represent feelings.  The first fabric is grey which represents shame.  The black represents depression.  All the dolls are bound by shame and depression. At the end of the depression strip is the “Me” doll representing where I am now.

Dolls7She’s kind of a mess!

The other half of the project is about getting to where I want to be.


Those dolls were wrapped deep inside the shame and depression bindings.

The strip of fabric connecting them is bright and happy and the words on it are: Hope, Initiative, Self-Love, and Healing . And the radiant doll at the end….The Me-I-would-like-to-be is the following doll. (And I have to say, that I have felt repeated, overwhelming urges to hack this doll to nothingness with scissors….This doll really triggers my self-loathing.)

Dolls8The whole project looks like this.


The other two dolls (pink and green) are steps along the way to being happy and radiant, they represent social connections and being socially confident.

Here are all the dolls together.


So, here’s the rub…..After I showed this to the Art Therapist I told him I had no idea how to get from the shame/depression part to the happy/radiant part.  They are just impossibly disconnected.  So, guess what the Art Therapist assigned me as homework?  Yup…to find the bridge between the two parts.

And I have been stuck for weeks!  Soooooo stuck!  The dolls had been at his office and on Monday, he sent them home with me.  (I think he figured out it was easier for me to ignore the assignment if the dolls were in his office!)  Instead of continuing my frustration with the project, I have taken a fresh look at it…and I might have the tiniest inkling of how to bridge the parts, but it hasn’t quite gelled in my brain yet….My goal for today is to work on it and see what I can come up with.

2 thoughts on “The Impossible Art Therapy Project

  1. One bridge at a time? Bridge where you are now to the next doll? All at once would seem too overwhelming. Wow, you’re making progress! Good work!
    This process appeals to me greatly. Using your hands pulls in other very significant parts besides just the mind, erupting from a place where all parts meet to direct oneself in a way that is purposeful, and follows one’s true nature.
    Really intriguing. Hopes and goals are depicted very clearly, and in steps, so attainable ..

  2. Pingback: The Bridge | Rusty Pluck

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