Needs, wants and bunny rabbits

Liz  is trained in art therapy.  We stink at art.  We knew one day those two facts would collide and today was that day – yippee!

Liz asked us to imagine ourselves as an animal and draw that animal with crayons.  We drew a bunny standing upright with very long ears – she didn’t ask for any embellishment, just the animal.  Then she asked if the bunny was all alone – she dwelled on this question for quite awhile (the second hint that this was not just fun drawing time with Liz).  She also wanted to know about whether the bunny was a male or female, only to find out that our bunny didn’t have a sex as such, it was just “a bunny”.  We then had to describe our bunny – she picked up on the words alone and alert.  These words were added to the picture with a new crayon colour for each word.  Then we had to draw and label what the bunny needed – house, food and water.  Our bunny masterpiece was finished…

We hate looking at anything we’ve drawn or written with crayon, we know we switch during the time and it shows in our writing – we go from block capitals to the flowing hand of Sophie.  We’ve yet to find a generic writing with crayon – we can with pen because the younger ones can’t hold a pen.  So Liz asked us to look at this picture and ensure that it had everything on it that the bunny needed.  Once we agreed that was it, we dated it and handed it back to her.  Usually she asks if we want anything we draw destroyed, but today she didn’t.

It was only when we were driving away that Ellie casually mentioned that this one silly drawing we didn’t really think about told Liz bucket loads about us – we were loners, considered ourselves sexless for safety reasons, didn’t want anyone else around us and only needed a house food and water.  She pointed out that if we were “normal” we’d at least want another bunny there for company, some toys, activities etc.  We would have moved from the basic needs into the wants – I want friends, I want to go out and so on.  Why in the world didn’t she tell us that while we were drawing the picture!  We only picked a bunny cos we thought of Thumper from Bambi.  We only thought of the basics because we thought of a rabbit breeding farm we went to when we were young.

Was very tempted to email Liz and tell her we were onto her and knew the bunny wanted more things, we just couldn’t draw them.  Would that be too obvious?  Yup, it would. Stink!


10 Responses to “Needs, wants and bunny rabbits”

  1. 1 Amie July 21, 2009 at 12:54 am

    I find art therapy fascinating, but i’m not sure it really help anyone. Like you said, its a bunny. You begin thinking about what a bunny wants, its not necessarily what you want. If i drew a bunny i’d give him a carrot. I hate carrots. Lol. Hmm

  2. 2 castorgirl July 21, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Oh you sooo should have seen the drawing of the carrot we did for the bunny. It was definitely the best element of the masterpiece :)

    Yeah to us it was just a drawing of a bunny that we had to do cos she said we had to draw something. But it could also have meant all the stuff Ellie said. Next time we do a drawing, we’re going to put a caveat on it!

    I know art therapy does help – we’ve got lots out of the sets on Polyvore. Probably just reading too much into what is a silly drawing done when she hit our stone wall.

    Take care…

  3. 3 mindparts July 21, 2009 at 7:49 am

    How amazing! My therapist is also trained in art therapy, though we don’t do that all that often. She has a rule and that is to leave your art critic at the door. No judgements are allowed in art therapy. You don’t stink. Because it’s the process and not product. The point of art therapy, as you found out, is to discover things about yourself and share them with others. You’ve done that in an incredible way.

    So, what will you do with this information?


    • 4 castorgirl July 21, 2009 at 8:10 pm

      Hi Paul,

      I wish we could leave the art criticism at the door. It’s odd in that I know she encourages the use of crayons, but it’s the one medium we just can’t handle well. I know it’s because of triggers from when we were young, but I’ve no real idea what they are. We keep using the crayons hoping one day to find out what the issue is with their use – it could be that we consider them “beneath us”, but I don’t think that’s it as Jo used pen-like crayons with us at the woman’s program and that was fine. It’s the crayons themselves that are the problem.

      It was interesting analysing the picture as we were driving home :) We always knew that information about ourselves, so it wasn’t a big shock.

      Take care

  4. 5 gracie July 21, 2009 at 8:26 am

    hi, it’s us again. we think you are good at art. we like your collages a lot. also your photos are good to look at. you are too mean to yourself. your liz lady got you to say heaps about you by asking for bunny drawings. so it worked. isn’t that a good thing : )

    • 6 castorgirl July 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Gracie,

      Thank you :) It will take us a lot of healing before we start being less mean towards our abilities. But we’re working on it.

      Oh, it was a good thing :) It was just a bit startling to realise how easily our insecurities, fears and issues could be laid out on a bit of paper that had four pictures and about eight words on it.

      (((warm safe hugs))) if you want them :)

  5. 7 mindparts July 22, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Hi, me again. For me, the crayons are a bit scary because we know without a doubt that this will cause a switch. I think it’s, again just for me, the identification of crayons with children. Finger paints generate the same kind of reaction. It’s an instant window into me/us. When we are stuck in therapy and have no idea what to say, sometimes T will say, “let’s paint”. It always get me unstuck.

    The thing with the art critic. Everyone thinks this to some degree about themselves, but it’s important to check it as best you can because the smaller parts of you need the express themselves and need encouragement.

    (((warm safe hugs to you))) i know this is a hard time for all of yous.


    • 8 castorgirl July 22, 2009 at 3:45 pm

      I think you might be right about the crayons being associated with the switching Paul. We know we switch as soon as we pick up crayons. Liz once asked us to draw how we were feeling and then write down in a new colour words to go along with that picture. Each new coloured word had obviously caused a switch as there was different writing, grammatical ability (never one of our strong points) and some had no context within the drawing at all – someone wrote that they liked green.

      Our reaction to you mentioning finger painting was interesting – total fear. I know that is about switching and something that happened while we were in kindergarten, but it’s amazing how our systems can react to a mere suggestion. A previous therapist said that our eyes can go from calm to terror with one word – problem is that we don’t know all the words that affect us.

      We’re in a nice calm and zoned out state at the moment. Not sure if that is good or bad considering the context of this past week.

      Take care :)

  6. 9 David July 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I can’t even imagine how I or my system would react if asked to do some form of art therapy … in all my therapy journeys, it’s never been presented or suggested. The very idea of it is profoundly distressing. I’m really impressed that you were able to do it, and I can see why you’d have felt that it was a bait and switch, to some extent.

    Children are pretty literal-minded. If I were drawing an animal, I wouldn’t think it wanted friends. It’s an *animal*, right? Geez!

  7. 10 castorgirl July 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Our thought exactly David. Problem is that I remember Liz asking quite a lot about the companions for this bunny – a sure fire prompt if ever there was one. It was an odd bunny in that it was all alone despite us admitting that bunnies just ate, bred and died. Some sort of logic would indicate that our bunny needed another bunny to do the “breeding” part of that equation.

    I know we were switching all over the place when we were doing this picture, so it was quite odd to get the different impressions of those who were there. At times we were stuck in the literal framework of a child; sometimes we were in a fantasy creation of a perfect house with this bunny a free roaming pet and sometimes I could tell it was morphing into something darker that I can’t access. We had mice, guinea pigs, chickens and a cat growing up, so it wasn’t a trigger event. I think it’s more some dark memory from a horror movie. Ahhh the joys of art therapy…

    Take care…

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