In my memoir, Dance in the Rain, Gerard is a client diagnosed with schizophrenia and I am his licensed professional counselor and art therapist. He presents to each therapy session with stories about his struggles and accomplishments as someone dealing with a mental health issue and the consequences of society treating him differently.
As each of his stories unfold, like the threads from the skeins of yard, I notice a strength developing in Gerard, like the strength of weaving the threads back and forth forming a tapestry or cloth. The single threads of life make a stronger story.
For the purpose of this group and to further highlight the successes of Gerard, we used tree branches from the woods. Gerard lives on very little money each month and has adapted to using found objects to make something out of nothing. In this group, participants used a given piece of nature to hold the beauty of their artwork.
The leaving message was this - an activity such as weaving on a tree branch can be difficult at first, just as it has been for Gerard, finding his way through society with little means but as we continue to weave, we will find an ease and unexpected joy which will mirror how Gerard speaks of his adventures today.
I hope the beautiful and meaningful pieces of art created by this group can be an inspiration for you to do the same.
Sandra Lee Tyrrell
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