Art Therapy Experiential Blog Series
by Lacey Ford (B.A. Psychology, D.T.A.T.I)
Theme: Creating a sculpture to represent how it feels to experience/express intimacy and healthy sexual boundaries
As an art therapist it is crucial that I practice the art therapy techniques and themes I introduce to clients, so I can explore the possible benefits or risks beforehand. Since therapy is a vulnerable experience for most, it is important that I look at my own vulnerabilities to aid my personal and professional development.
I created the sculpture shown above to examine my own feeling & perspectives about intimacy and sexual boundaries, as preparation for an art therapy group I lead at the Gatehouse for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Developing healthy boundaries around intimacy is very important when working with survivors of sexual abuse, because the boundaries were violated during the abuse. Survivors feel unsafe in their own bodies. The aim of this particular art therapy is to help survivors feel in control of their bodies and voices around sexual boundaries.
Reflection: I depicted myself as a tree reaching upward to show the feeling of steadiness and empowerment. The tree also signifies the natural vulnerability that exists in sexual intimacy, which is why it is key to develop trust and clear communication with our partners when we choose to share this experience. On top of the tree sits a flame, that represents the passion or fire that can be experienced whenever sexual boundaries are made clear and are respected during intimacy. Finally, the boundary around the sculpture is tied into my root system. It is heart shaped because maintaining sexual, mental, and physical boundaries is the foundation for creating healthy relationships with ourselves and others. Communicating and practicing these boundaries is not selfish. It is necessary to show love and care for ourselves and others.