Why is this happening? Who will help me?
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This quotation fits how I see therapy poems— a way to keep questions open. Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try and love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Sanah Ahsan’s Journey Through Therapy and Spoken Word
Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. I often feel quite humbled by the enormity and complexity of the situations my clients bring. The rescued speech poem is a text to be performed, becoming the story through which the person can live. As Bachelard points out in his phenomenological study of poetry, the poetic image actually comes to be in reverberation.
Poetry exists in sound, in its resonances and reverberations. Poems are meant to be spoken aloud.
Poetic therapy led by Allen woman is good for hearts, minds of Alzheimer’s patients
Once the words are given voice in sound, they come to life. Thus the poem makes its reader up as much as the reader makes up the poem. A short poem that repeats the open question and reiterates these few key expressions extends the conversation beyond the therapy room. Here is an example of a short poem that I co-wrote with Julia, a young woman who had recently left a torturously abusive relationship with her boyfriend.
Julia had been describing the fears that had come in the wake of the abuse and her departure: Did she deserve the new contentment she had found? Could she really trust that her friends and family could see her renewed vivaciousness or would they see her as a victim? This is a fairly new practice for me and I have a sense that there are limitless possible directions to go in. Here a few ideas that might help those who are interested in these sorts of co-writing projects with the people who consult them:. These reverberations further extend the life of the poem.
I also encourage clients to circulate their poems as a way to bring their primary audience— family, friends, partners— in on the current state of their journeys. My clients have told me with each retelling of the poem the experience becomes richer.
Rescued speech poems have given birth to a more poetic practice with the people who consult me. Her father died of the memory disorder in , and her mother was gone a year later.
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About the same time, she finalized a divorce from her husband of 25 years. I felt like I could be disposable. The parents of Molly Meyer, who both had Alzheimer's disease. He died in and she a year later. But amid the acrimony and crumbling facades of marriage, Meyer occasionally thought about that duck.
It was a metaphor, obviously — we need to listen to our loved ones now, because tomorrow may be so, so silent — but maybe it was also a parable and a cautionary tale. Meyer ached for every missed moment with her mother.
Meyer lived 40 of her 52 years in Phoenix. She married and raised three of her four children there. But after her parents died, and her marriage died, there was no reason to stay. But sometimes it felt that way. It would be unfair to say Meyer is uptight. On this day, a Wednesday morning at Belmont Village Senior Living in Oak Lawn, Meyer paced in front of a group of seniors with varying degrees of memory loss.
The idea, she explained later, is to get her class thinking about the value of family and the cherished heirlooms people leave behind.
Once focused, she began probing for memories. With prodding, she added details — it was fudge made by her grandmother. Can you imagine what she looked like or what she wore while she was making fudge? I love that. And she was off. Students ages 11 — 18 are recruited from local agencies serving young people with backgrounds of homelessness or low-income living situations.
Mentors are photographers with a commitment to youth empowerment through education. Teach them the basics of photography. And challenge each student to create a group of pictures that reveal an important part of his or her world. Photographer and PhotoTherapist Lori DeMarre assists cancer survivors tell their own visual story, through co-creating photographic representations of their own personal journey.
It documents the journey from sexual assault victim to sexual assault survivor by means of a multimedia performance that features poetry, music, photography, West African dance and modern dance to help educate people about sexual trauma and healing. Each of the fourteen dramatic, large-scale black-and-white photographs depicting a symbolic journey through depression is accompanied by a short, experience-based poem that speaks to a specific aspect of depression: medication, the mind-body-spirit connection, isolation, hope, the need for balance, healing, and more.
In the Trans-active Project, young people with and without disability work together, giving them opportunities to learn to work together and explore their similarities as well as differences — and in the process, making friends and having fun! Using their passport as a reminder and a communication bridge, they can easily show people what is important to them now and in the future, and can greatly assist the transition process.
Additionally, young people with severe learning disabilities and their non-disabled peers, are involved in developing an interactive website for young people with a learning disability; Thematic PhotoBooks , is the website of New York photographer Dina Veksler, who works for different programs in the field of mental health and developmental disabilities.