Structure and flexibility

In art therapy we need to provide structure: a bounded time, clarity of roles, guidelines for safety and confidentiality.

But we also need to provide flexibility, the ability for participants to go as deep as feels comfortable, some choice in materials, choice in expression.

If we have few boundaries and little structure in our groups then partipcants have the benefit of making choices and exerting control, but not the benefit of embodying flexibility. The lack of structure can trigger those who do not feel safe without structure. they may feel like they are in freefall or chaos or lost in too much space.

If we have firm boundaries and a lot of structure participants have the benefit of embodying flexibility (responding to what is) but less opportunities to make choices or exert control. The lack of flexibility can trigger those who do not feel safe within with intrusion or demands or not enough space.

A dance with our edges. A dance with our preferences.

Image: mixed media art I made a few years back as part of a series