Lisa Mitchell

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As an artist/therapist, how much space do you allow yourself in session?

Lisa Mitchell | Feb 7, 2014 | 39 comments

Use of Self is an much space do you allow yourself, as an artist, to occupy in session?

Use of Self is an art.

With our exquisite instrument

We decipher the blips,

We decode the pangs,

We un-riddle the wordless.

Are you a highly tuned receptor–

calibrated to sense even the slightest change in your client’s emotional temperature?

Are you a humble vessel

designed to unconditionally receive and contain even the most extremes of human condition?

Maybe you are a world class translator–

trained to precisely interpret your reactions as client projection, transference, attachment patterns?

But really,

In session,

How much space do you occupy?

How much room do you take without having to show up in service of your client?

Or is it just safer to melt into the background?

Extraordinary things can happen when you allow yourself to occupy some space.

When you reach across the divide not as a receptor or a vessel or a translator;

When  you show up as you and declare yourself–unmasked

Things shift and special moments bring tingles that linger for years.

Like I said,

Use of Self is an Art.


The current Artfix group was chewing on this topic during our call this week and I decided to bring it to the larger blog community for fodder. 

As a way of getting you into this musing, I’ve prepared a small audio that walks you through an art process:

How Occupying Space can shift the dynamic between you and your client. 

Just let me know in the reply box you are interested in the exercise and I will send you the link!

39 responses to “As an artist/therapist, how much space do you allow yourself in session?”

  1. l would like to see this video please. lynda

  2. Patricia says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I welcome the opportunity to hear your audio and participate in the process!

    Thanks very much.

  3. Fran says:

    I am also interested in the audio. THX. I really enjoy and appreciate your posts.

  4. Shay says:

    I’d like to hear the audio. Thanks!

  5. Dale says:

    what an intriguing idea. would love the audio and an opportunity to chew on this as well. Thanks

  6. joey says:

    I would like to hear the audio as well. Thanks.

  7. Boontarika says:

    I’d love to listen to the audio as well. Thank you!

  8. Peggy Gulshen says:

    Please send link to audio. Thanks!

  9. Rhonda Hailes Maylett says:

    It would be an honor watching a true professional in action! I would love to see your latest creation ‘cause you never disappoint my curiosity.
    BlessU Lisa for allowing me to learn… (>‿◠)✌
    You’re Rock’nRoll coolsville and I’m stoked to be aboard.
    Play Hard forever…♫

  10. Laura Pratto says:

    I would be interested in the audio.

    Thank you!

  11. Patty says:

    Yes, count me in. I’d love to explore this further through art.

  12. Laura Pratto says:

    I also wanted to comment on taking up space in session. Yesterday I attended a workshop hosted by F.A.C.E.S. clinic in Los Angeles highlighting Dr. Daniel Siegel of MARC UCLA who is launching his book Brainstorm – Navigating the Teen Brain. He stated that a teacher’s expectation evokes a teen’s potential. It’s when a teacher brings his/her energy to a lesson and encourages the students to achieve they meet the teacher at the bar offered. I believe this is true in therapy. If a therapist comes to session with the mindset of being jaded and so few marriages work and I don’t want to “bring” the energy needed to provide momentum within a couple because what’s the point – then movement will not happen. We have to “bring it” especially in the the 1st stage of treatment to every session. Exhausting yes – that’s why self care is so important.

    • admin says:

      Laura, Thanks so much for adding this. “Bring it” is exactly the attitude isn’t it? And, if done in the spirit of creativity and your own artful approach to therapy it doesn’t have to be exhausting at all. In fact, it can be energizing!

  13. Tanya says:

    Hi Lisa, great topic. My life experiences and my art have shown me that hope rather than cynicism and possibilities rather than close mindedness brings growth and joy. I think when we exude this state our clients can feel hope and inspiration too. I would love to hear the audio also please. Thanks so much.

  14. Rekha says:

    Hi. I would love to hear the audio and participating in the exercise.
    Thank you

  15. Brenda says:

    I would also love to see the video!

    Love this:
    traordinary things can happen when you allow yourself to occupy some space.

    When you reach across the divide not as a receptor or a vessel or a translator;

    When you show up as you and declare yourself–unmasked

    Things shift and special moments bring tingles that linger for years.

    thanks Brenda

  16. m interested in ing this out–please send me a link! Thanks.

  17. anna maria says:

    Hello Lisa!
    I am also interested in the audio.

  18. susy says:

    I’m interested!

  19. Meg says:

    YES! I am interested in the audio…sounds interesting.
    Appreciate it,

  20. sharon says:

    Please send me the audio!! Love your work.

  21. Gwendolyn Rowlands says:

    please send me the audio. With thanks Gwendolyn

  22. nirbheeti says:

    Sounds very interesting.

  23. Susan says:

    Yes, please❤️

  24. sparkles says:

    Good question to reflect on! It’s not a static thing either; depending on the particulars it changes. Even within one session it flows.

    I’m adding this to my list of clinical excellence practices.

    While I appreciate the audio offer, I’m much more comfortable and likely to make use of text.

  25. Reta says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Yes!I am very interested in exploring this question and would love your audio on this process. Thank-you!

  26. Jackie Myers says:

    I am very interested in this. Please send me the audio.

  27. Ron says:

    I am very interested in this link, please!

  28. Betty Readle says:

    Facinating topic. I am very interested in the link. Thanks for your generosity to our community.

  29. Maria says:

    Yes please 🙂 thank you!

  30. Allie says:

    I’d very much like the link.
    Many thanks,

  31. Zoya says:

    Lisa – fantastic topic as always! :)i am interested in the link!

  32. Madalaine says:

    Hi Lisa, I would also appreciate the link. I’m hoping to become an Art Therapist one day! I am currently on an Art Therapy Foundation Week course in Manchester (UK) and I’m really eager to learn more and more 🙂


  33. Deb says:

    Hi, Lisa, I am also interested in the link. Thanks for sharing it.

  34. Lynda says:

    Hi Lisa, would love to see your video, your insights are always inspiring, thxs Lynda

  35. Pauline de Villiers says:

    Hi Lisa, I’m a play therapist interested in providing all kinds of openings for creative play for clients. Please send me the link for the audio.

  36. Christina Morris says:

    Hi Lisa,
    This came up for me during one of our group discussions. I would love to learn more about how to use myself as an instrument of change while being visible. Thank you so much!

  37. Hi Lisa…. I would very much enjoy seeing this video 🙂 Hope all is well with you and yours…. ENJOY your weekend and THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your time and efforts for us! Peace.

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