How A Deep Understanding Of The Patriarchy and Women’s Issues Is Integral To The Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program
The Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program begins in a little more than two weeks on April 29th and as Tim and I are preparing and refining the curriculum it’s also making me think about some of the psychological, spiritual and philosophical roots and influences that inform what and how we teach.
Over the next week or so I want to share with you the various parts of my lineage in terms of how I approach this expressive arts work. And what you can learn from me by participating in this program.
Another major influence in my early explorations into what is healing and what does it take to heal also came through something called Radical Psychiatry. This was a concept and a movement developed by social activists who were also therapists that I was introduced to during the late 70’s and early 80’s through being mentored by a woman named Hogie Wyckoff. Hogie was the author of a number of books including Solving Problems Together and Solving Women’s Problems Through Awareness, Action and Contact.
Radical Psychiatry proposed that a person’s psychological wounds and struggles are the direct result of the impact of larger social and political systems and is not a personal problem or failing. Their motto was “Therapy means social, political and personal change, not adjustment”.
It explored issues like the inherent power structure of a traditional therapuetic relationship and how it creates a top/down, patriarchal, infantilizing dynamic where the therapist is the expert who diagnoses your problems by saying “I know you better than YOU know you.”
It tried to rectify that dynamic through education but also by teaching ordinary people counseling skills that they could use with each other. These skills took the mystery out of therapy and put everyone on an equal footing, allowing folks to regain a sense of power and agency when it came to their own psychological and emotional healing.
Hogie Wyckoffs work focused very specifically on women’s issues and how the dominant therapuetic paradigm as mirrored by the culture at large contributed to women’s oppression, via patriarchal attitudes that value capitalism ( i.e. money), male power and suppression of feelings over authenticity, equality and genuine relationship. But that this oppression in most women was still very unconscious and contributed to an ongoing sense of isolation, alienation and a lack of self worth.
Hogie did most of her work in women’s groups where her focus was on making that oppression conscious through teaching women to recognize that all women are treated the same way by the dominant culture and that working together to wake up to that oppression leads to deeper connection, positive action and ultimately a sense of liberation.
This way of thinking about psycho-therapuetic dynamics and how dominant culture values related to the patriarchy and misogyny were often acted out in the therapy room affected me deeply and influenced how I worked when I became a therapist myself. And continued to inform my way of thinking and working once I stepped into the role of intuitive painting facilitator.
It’s always been important to me to recognize that even though I may have experience and even expertise in the way I work with others, what is most important is valuing, listening to and trusting in the deep wisdom of my clients and students, and supporting them to trust themselves. To always remeber that they know way more than I do about what their souls need to heal. And that my job is to simply be a a conduit to help them hear and heal themselves.
The second thing I learned on a deep level from Radical Psychiatry and Hogie Wyckoff was how insidious the patriarchy is and how it contributes in thousands of ways to undermining womens power, confidence and agency. So another part of my life long commitment as a teacher, leader and guide was to confront and dismantle those patriarchal constructs at every turn.
I learned that the political IS the personal. They are one and the same thing and women’s struggles, issues and traumas need to be addressed on both levels for true healing to occur.
I also learned about the almost magical power of working in community and how sacred circles of truth and vulnerability are like miracle grow for the spirit that leads to creative and societal soul freedom.
I was able to weave all of what I learned about power, women’s issues, and systemic cultural oppression into the practices of intuitive painting and the expressive arts. And found that creative expression free of expectations around things like perfectionism, productivity, success, approval and control is an incredibly effective tool for liberation on all levels.
Utilizing these political and therapeutic perspectives and combining them with intuitive painting is actually quite unique to how I do this work.
And is something that I will happily teach and share with you if you come into my Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training program!!!
So if this way of creating and healing sounds interesting and exciting to you consider joining us for the next round of the Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program Online beginning Saturday, April 29th!!
For more info on the upcoming teacher training program and to sign up for a free informational interview with Tim and I click on the image box below.