Visual methods

I use a variety of visual methods. Some of these are my own inventions, for instance shadow boxing. Shadow boxing is a way of using personal objects to collect important memories of someone you’ve lost. Through this process strong feelings arise of the impact that the person had and still has. Each object holds a story loaded with images; these help to connect with the lost one and deal with the different emotions caused by the death.

Another visual method is to draw up the problem. What does it look like? When the problem is drawn, it can suddenly become apparent what is missing in the picture, what is dominant, what is present but shouldn’t be, and so on.

A person who had acute stress drew her situation at work. She was situated as Atlas holding countless burdens in a space without borders and clocks without fingers. When we saw that image, the impact of the situation and the feeling of how severe it really was became clear to both of us and it even pointed to solutions. For instance: let go of some of the burdens, identifying who was responsible for the tasks to be done, finding out what were her tasks and letting go of the others, setting borders, and creating timeslots for each task. Had she not drawn this we would have found out what was going on anyway, but the drawing sped up the process. Drawings can also reveal feelings, moods, power relationships, hierarchies, struggles, what is tense and what gives release. Sometimes they depict things that you don’t really understand. Then you can work on other levels of understanding it, for instance through analysing the size of that object that is so obscure, the relation to other objects and influence as a size and figure or as a color and so on. Through this, we can understand what the subconscious mind was trying to explain.

Visualisation is another way of using visual methods—creating new views of the future. It taps into dreams, hopes, and makes things possible through imagination. It’s also a way of dealing with emotional or physical pain. For instance, let’s say you have a pain in the stomach arising from emotional distress. When you see the knot inside your stomach we find visual ways to neutralize it. For some people it’s easier to know that you are dealing with the problem and know that you have triumphed over it when you have seen it inside your head.