Materials

At the beginning of the meetings 1 take care of supplying the art materials, such as colorful papers in different kinds and sizes. The women are asked to bring pictures of their childhoods. During the group, the women are asked to bring materials to present their life story with characterization and metaphors.

The process of the sessions is divided into three phases: past, present, and future.

Step I

In this first stage, the women associate to their private name, draw their name and color it, according to the way they feel, on a sheet of paper. Issues such as: "Where did I put my name on the page?" and other issues, such as: the proportion of the name versus the page size, full versus empty space, the chosen colors, the materials attached to the nameā€”all have the capacity to arouse thoughts and feelings which lead to personal "checking." An example of such would be, "Where am I with regard to my life and the rest of the group members?"

Step 2

In the second stage, women are asked to bring a picture of themselves as a child. I generally photocopy these pictures, magnify them, and make copies: one in black and white, and one in color. The magnification helps them watch and see the various details of that child observed in the picture. The different pictures invite them to use and contribute to the symbols in their life story.

Step 3

In addition to the pictures, I give each woman a poem as a starting point with the past and a connection to the present. The poems are about the forgotten things of childhood.

I look for poems that talk about memories and sights, with no specific mention of time or place, so as to let every participant make her own associations to the central issue of the poem as a stimulus which returns the woman to that forgotten childhood. You can, also choose any song that talks about childhood that is relevant to the place or the culture of the patients.

Step 4

The women are asked to derive single words, or a related sentence, and create an emotional, conceptual integration between the words of the poem and the child in the picture. This step includes a group dialogue as well as a personal dialogue concerning the stories created from the association between the words and the picture. Issues such as: "What had the child left in her forgotten childhood? Who was she way back in the past? What were her dreams and expectations from herself? What was her place in her family of origin?" This part arouses nostalgia, smiles, and pain. In this part of the intervention it is important to check who among these women has social leadership skills, and what happened in her life's journey that made her leave all this behind, i.e., traumas, introjected, related family patterns.

Step 5

The link to the past touches the very intimate, delicate texture of the group, as well as personal lives. The women have to build a new lifeline-a rope, which connects the past with the present, a symbol of the "the umbilical cord." This cord is translated to tastes, smells, prayers, and different textures that the women collect from their childhood environments and from their present. It is important to give this part a significant time space, as collections are created and presented as if in an exhibition. This part is especially exciting, since it involves a lot of effort, and confronts issues dealing with the reasons for the women's inability to carry out developmental tasks and progress.

Step 6

I use the term "curtain" to represent the situation of being stuck. This curtain stands between the self-fulfillment, i.e., between the desire, dream, and fantasy and their place in the present; a curtain, which they have to pass through in order to move to the other side.

The women have to metaphorically check and choose the various materials that make this curtain opaque, transparent, stiff, soft, etc. Different materials are then brought into the room: piercing thorns, nets with different density; the whole group contributes by looking at the unconcealed and into the hidden. At the end of this step, the women will have to go through the curtains and reveal their strength to cope with the past as a process of growing. They begin thinking about the future by searching for studying and working places, while still in the process of group therapy.

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