James Hillman, who has written extensively about “dis-ease” in terms of disease took apart that word on purpose.
Disease can then be thought of, at least in the psychotherapeutic sense as a state of psychic “unease.”
As therapists one of the first things we look for is this sense of “dis-ease” in our clients. Usually a person seeks out therapy because they feel like something is “wrong.”
How can we find the “dis-ease?”
Well, all of us have our own bag of magic tricks for that.
As I went through my training at Pacifica Graduate Institute to become a therapist, one of my favorite techniques was to have a client draw or write about the “dis-ease.”
Here is a beautiful video from Youtube that gives an example of what that looks like in practice:
This video gives an example of how a therapist uses a technique called Narrative Therapy. I also used that technique. Both in session and as a take home assignment.
My treatment paradigm would make use of blogs and scanned images for work in the web. I started thinking this up because of some disturbing things I have seen in the web, in terms of imagery. Use of a “gravatar” would work for the client as a self-portrait. I have just looked into a new phenomenon called “pro-ana” after seeing a news story about a model who passed away of anorexia.
What concerns me most in terms of this “dis-ease” as Hillman would put it is that the starved self has no mirror? Of all the cases of anorexia I am familiar with, I have never seen anything this severe. If you look at the first picture to the left of the search you will see the distorted body image the anorexic client has. The girl that she is looking at in the mirror is how she sees herself. She literally cannot see herself? As the rest of the world does.
In my tx paradigm we would start with the client choosing a gravatar for the self and making a blog using Vigilance theme in WordPress. This is a nice sort of “blank sheet of paper” — and the client can make and alter headers at will.
The first interventions have to do with the gravatar and the client might use their first piece of narrative writing to describe things about the gravatar. And why they wanted to choose this particular image. The same goes for the name they choose for themselves? The name of their blog.
There could be a weekly or even a daily assignment of art and writing.
If the client is able to use pencils or crayons they could draw a picture for the therapist. They could also use the web to “link” to an image and do the narrative work around that. Or use tools in the web to draw or make animations?
What is important is to get to the “self.”
In doing a search on Google for anorexia news stories, it appears that the disease is no longer gender based. Today there are 1,721 stories related to the term anorexia in the web. Here is a story from Salon, today.
A place to start, for these clients would be a safe space to create room for the “self.”
I wish all the readers of my blog a Happy New Year!
I will be continuing to develop my treatment planner called The Book of Hearts. It is a holistic Jungian way of working with our culture’s “dis-ease.”
This sort of work would also be a good treatment for any of the Depressive Disorders as well.