The Bottom-up Approach

Implicit memory is stored in the brainstem, which is the seat of our ancient survival system. This is the part of our brain that deals with trauma, however, it does this in a predominantly body-based way. The brainstem is strongly influenced by attraction and repulsion. It is being informed through repeated action patterns, such as learning to walk, to ride a bike, or to put a spoon into our mouth. Once we have mastered an action pattern, it becomes part of our implicit memory system and we do not ever think about it, unless someone pushes us into a pool of water when we never had learnt to swim, or an accident no longer allows us to move a limb. In the same way we do not think about breathing, making our heart beat or our muscles to contract and relax.

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The Significance of Colour

There are many different ways to approach the subject of the meaning and significance of colour. In art therapy sessions I encourage clients to honour colour in so far as to choose it according to the felt sense.

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The Importance of Art Materials

My recent experience at the International Art Therapy Practice/Research Inaugural Conference in London has highlighted how instrumental good quality art materials are for the outcomes of our work. When working with a focus on the body, Sensorimotor Art Therapy requires tables and chairs. Even the height of the table is important, ideally at or approximately 5 cm below the navel of the client. Chairs should be high enough that the knees are slightly lower than the pelvis, and the feet touch the ground. It is important that one sits comfortably upright while drawing, as it is an exercise of body awareness. A starting position that allows a relaxed upright body posture is important, which is not possible when crouched on the floor.

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Masterclass: Work at the Clay Field® Workshop

In February 2019 Prof Heinz Deuser came to Australia to offer a Masterclass on his Work at the Clay Field® at Claerwen Retreat. For over 20 years Prof Deuser was the course coordinator of the first BA in Art Therapy at the Kunsthochschule in Nürtingen, Germany. Today he is the director of the Institut für Gestaltbildung in Hinterzarten, Germany.  Work at the Clay Field is a unique Sensorimotor Art Therapy modality Prof Deuser has developed over the past five decades. 

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