kaalomai laura kirdani
one month and ongoing
creative journaling workshop
The workshop.
This workshop is an interactive co-creative process of self-discovery. It offers individuals a chance to create their own self-directed life manual to help them to create a solid foundation of personal growth by teaching them tools to establish a strong sense of self, clarify goals and cope with life’s challenges. In addition to this it is designed to teach them communication and social skills. There is a general set of directives that follow a general direction that the workshop will cover. Part of the teaching is to allow the participants to direct the course through their current challenges and concerns. This is meant to provide them with a sense of empowerment, as they are encouraged to share their ideas and thoughts and come up with their own answers.
Introductions explanations and ice breakers.
The first day will be spent introducing myself and the workshop to the group. We will also engage in some ice breaking exercises designed to start building the group field.
One of the things we will discuss in the workshop discussion is the basic format of the group. This is a flexible format allowing for in-the-moment adjustments to best facilitate the supportive therapeutic field.
The rules.
1. Never say anything negative about anyone else’s work or sharing.
2. No one will touch, deface, look at (without permission) or otherwise bother anyone else’s work.
3. Everyone’s work and sharing is private and confidential no one will talk outside of class about what goes on in the sessions.
Privacy and confidentiality.
A discussion will be lead on this subject. Emphasis is put on the need for the group to be a safe place for openness and sharing. The safer it is the safer they’ll feel and the more open everyone will be.
Use of the journals.
The journals and their use is explained. The journals are to be regarded as a special space to write, draw, ponder, question, collage, cut/paste, and generally express yourself, who you are and what you want out of life. The group is encouraged to continue working on the directives and lessons outside the workshop.
The difference between art and art therapy.
This workshop is not about making beautiful images or impressing anyone, this creative journal is purely for self-expression and processing thoughts, feelings and emotions. People are encouraged to follow their intuition and their passion.
General format that the group will follow.
The Check In
Each group begins with a check-in during which we go around the circle and share a few sentences about how we are doing and what is going on in our lives. This should be kept brief and focus on the individual’s personal headlines. The purpose of the check-in is to let everyone know where you are at that day emotionally, physically, mentally and/or in any other way that you would like to share. This is also a time to share general information about your personal current life events. If you want time to discuss more after the initial quick check-in you can mention it here and we will have time after everyone has completed the initial check-in to do this.
The Follow Up
If there is anyone who wants to discuss anything further we do it here. This is an opportunity for extra support from the group and further personal process with the facilitation of the group leader. Sometimes this will engender the focus for the first directive of the day.
The Directive
On the first day of the workshop we will do an exercise from the list of early stage directives as seen on The Possible Directives list below. Generally the directives for each session will follow this list unless the above check-in and follow-up engenders a topic in which case I have a chance to demonstrate to the group the flexibility of creative journaling to provide support for whatever is up for the individual in their daily lives. For instance if someone was sad because their grandma was dying we might do an image in memorial of someone important to us that we wanted to remember/honor.
The group will be given as much time as possible to complete the directives before moving on to the discussion.
The Discussion
When everyone is ready we gather together again to discuss the directive, how it was to do it and anything else people want to share about what might have come up for them while they did the directive.
The Process
Using gestalt therapy techniques I will assist the group in processing whatever is presenting itself as a result of the art directives. This is also time for gestalting the work itself during which the individual can focus on a particular piece becoming the different parts of the piece and speaking in the first person present tense. This technique is often a profound way to access and process information and emotions.
The Checkout
The checkout is the opportunity to share final thoughts, offer praise and thanks and remind the group to keep group discussions confidential. This also provides the transition from the therapeutic environment back into the general population.
The Possible Directives
Below is a sample list of some of the possible directives that may be utilized during the group depending on the length and needs of the specific group. These directives have been divided into the various appropriate stages of group therapy to establish rapport and build trust and safety.
Early stage directives to help build rapport are designed to be a bit more superficial and less deeply personal and revealing to help ease individuals into the group bond. These directives are good for the first few classes when we are setting the intent and focus for the group. During these first two stages the materials should remain concrete, pens, pencils and collage are the best options.
Your intention for this group
Initial basic goals, questions, and concerns
Where would you like to go next in your life
What you want to manifest for yourself
Collage: Personal life vision
Once the group has become familiar with the general format of the workshop and have been introduced to each other and are feeling more comfortable with the general environment, the directives begin to delve deeper into their sense of self and the world they live in. These directives are appropriate from the third session on. These directives are designed to help ground and clarify and strengthen the sense of safety and support in the world. Late in this stage it may be appropriate to introduce oil pastels as an option.
Who/where/what is your support system
Draw your safe place (with meditation)
What you are grateful for
Quick draw emotions chart
Problem/Solution Mandalas
Internal/External Self Collage: decorate your journal
Once the format of the group and its participants are established and comfortable the directives become even more revealing, teaching ways to explore oneself, your hopes, dreams and fears and cope with them in the manageable format of the creative journal. If the group seems stable enough it might be appropriate to add tempura paint as an option at this stage.
Things you love about yourself
Your strengths
Your wildest dreams
Your scariest monster (abstract)
Your super hero self
Body self transformational drawings
In the later stages, as the group has established strong roots, clear boundaries and dynamics the directives allow for the participants to open even further to dare to look closely at themselves and celebrate what they see. During this late stage we will also be exploring the more practical side of maintaining this therapeutic modality through recognition and identification of the tools they have to help them through life’s challenges and identify who they can look to for example and where they can continue to find strength and direction in their lives.
Power symbols
Who am I?
Family portrait
My life in 5-10 frames comic strip style
Celebrate yourself – self-portrait
Chakra meditation, lecture and drawing
Group termination stage sessions will start in the last few classes and will consist of focusing on maintaining the tools for self-therapy within the visual journaling format. These directives also give the participants the opportunity to ease out of the group mentally and emotionally and tie up any loose ends.
Personal shield: Tools to make you happy, healthy, cope, laugh, love
Collage: Heroes, idols, role models in your life
Your experience in this workshop, and closure
Saying goodbye to the group/workshop.
During the group I will also teach various techniques in communication and self therapy drawn from Gestalt methods of processing. One method I will be demonstrating and offering to the group on a regular basis is the opportunity to Gestalt ones artwork. In this method the individual becomes the different parts of the artwork in turn, speaking as the part in the first person present tense. Through my guidance I will direct the volunteer in this profoundly deep process of self discovery.
In addition to this we will be incorporating music, movement and various group exercises in order to enhance the process of self discovery. Some of the things we may be experiencing include spiritual journeying, improvisational movement, one on one experiential exercises, sweat lodge, meditation and more.