"Art as a Window to the Mind" by
Anna Belle Kaufman
Sometimes we can think too much. Have you ever had a problem that you try as hard as you can to figure out? You discuss it, worry and ponder over it, and still feel stuck? You are working the left side of your brain very hard. "Well," you may decide, "I'll just sleep on it." Sometimes, upon awakening, you have new insight or a solution! While you were sleeping, your unconscious in your right brain was helping you out. Others of us may practice meditation as an entry to that half of our brain, that does its job entirely without language.
Please join Gualala Arts Lecture Series on Monday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m., for Anna Belle Kaufman's informal slide lecture entitled "Art as a Window to the Mind." A donation of $5 at the door will be appreciated.
The right brain doesn't analyze or put things in a rational sequence, but instead grasps sensory input as a whole or gestalt. For example, it is the side that recognizes emotion in facial expression. The right brain processes visual information and visual memory. It is better than the left in the expression of emotions. It is where intuition, our inner wisdom, resides. What if you had a way to access that whole wise part of you that you are barely aware of - without having to count on your dreams or lots of meditation experience for help?
Art can make our hidden internal world, the world of the right brain, visible and accessible. Art is the language of the right brain. And Art Therapy is the branch of psychology that provides a window to this inner wisdom. In art therapy, our artistic expressions with their personal metaphors and symbols can be shared, investigated, and interpreted. In much the same way as dreams are used in traditional therapy, as rapid access to the unconscious, art provides another "royal road" and then some.
Art-making includes so many senses: touch, vision, and movement. Clients in art therapy freely create from a variety of two and three dimensional materials. As they learn to "listen with their eyes," they are able to hear what their intuitive side has to tell them.
Looking at art made in art therapy is a bit different than looking in a gallery. We are not critiquing technique or craft or evaluating the end product to see if we like it or if it would look terrific over the sofa. The emphasis is on the process. The product is used as an artifact of the process that provides vital information and understanding. People of all ages, with any amount of art training or experience from none to pro can participate successfully. The therapist must be trained in art, psychology, and counseling.
The informal slide lecture to be given by Anna Belle Kaufman, MFA, MA, MFT, ATR, will explore art therapy by looking at and discussing images made by Ms. Kaufman's patients/clients from a variety of settings, from private practice to the UCLA Cancer Center and an AIDS clinic.
Ms. Kaufman was trained in sculpture and design at Rhode Island School of Design, California College of Arts and Crafts, and Brandeis University. She had a career as designer of costumes, sets, and museum exhibitions before becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist and Art Therapist.