Touch of Picasso: Therapy Edition

Every therapist has their unique approach

What is therapy? The way therapy is depicted in the media can make it confusing to people of what actually happens in the room. It is often depicted as advice giving, an expert telling you what to do, and someone having all the answers. This could not be farther from the truth. It is a connection between two people. It is figuring out solutions to struggles collaboratively. It is sitting with difficult emotions when there may not be a “fix.” It is learning to be vulnerable with another human being. It is identifying patterns and behaviors that are having a negative impact on a person’s functioning. It is looking at the messages you received as a child or messages you received from society telling you that you are unloveable, unworthy, a failure, not good enough, etc. It is showing up however you need to show up that day and be received with empathy and unconditional positive regard. It is not a “pill” or a “recipe” that can be taken or followed that will alleviate or produce the “desired results” overnight.

Therapy is an art form. The art is ever changing and fluid. Each session looks different depending on the therapist, the client, and the content explored. Just like there are famous artists such as Picasso or Monet who influence works of art today, there are famous theorists who influence the style and interventions of a therapist. If I were to try and replicate a Picasso painting, it would still be my own. The painting would have my interpretation, my influence, and my brush strokes. The art observer could feel something from the piece, be inspired by the piece, or feel a connection to the piece. Or, the art observer may feel disconnected from the piece, not find inspiration from the piece, or feel like looking at the piece of art is a waste of time.

Using this analogy of art, the therapist is inspired by past theorists, but each therapist has their own "way of being" in the therapy room. They bring themselves to the room and create “art” with the client. Each piece of “art” is influenced by the emotions and content that are brought in that day. The client is engaging in the “art,” using their own “brush strokes.” The client is an active participant in the creation of the “art” bringing forth their pain, hurt, anxieties, anger, depression, trauma, stories, etc.

The therapist and client work collaboratively finding out what works and what does not work. Sometimes the therapist and client are not the right fit, just like the analogy of a person not appreciating a piece of art. It does not mean therapy does not work, it means that the connection between that particular therapist and client was not harmonious. It is important to find the right therapist for you. A therapist whom you can feel comfortable to open up, feel safe, and trust.  When therapist and client are able to connect and create “art,” the process of healing and restoration is ignited. 

Kirsten Yackley