By Val Valentine
Wow, what a difference a month can make! I went from a full private practice with between 25-30 face to face clients a week, to 15-20 clients per week with every session either on-line or by phone; some clients ready and discharged and some needing to take a break during this time of change.
It has been a huge reorientation for me. Sitting in a room with a client, I have developed internal sensors that inform me on many levels about what is happening in the exchange without much effort. I have the information of body language, of subtle energetic shifts, of spaces between communication that speak so much. I can see how the materials are handled, the depth conveyed in moments of thought and movement, in breath. I can feel energy, when I am in the same physical space. These are all tools that I rely on to guide the work.
In switching out of the physical container, I feel as if I have suddenly gone energetically blind. It is not that the information is not there, but I have had to do some serious reorientation to receive it all. It has been an exhausting learning curve and quite a surprise to recognize how much more attention and effort this requires. I had taken the growth of these skills for granted and now feel like I am having to relearn them in new ways.
Integrating the art-making into phone and video sessions has been difficult, and that is the biggest loss for me. I know it is possible. I have done it with some, but it is an effort and does not flow as naturally as when we are both in a fully stocked studio. Materials are limited to what each client has available. And in many ways, it feels like trying to paint with my hands tied behind my back and the brush in my mouth…again, very possible, but requires a huge reorientation, patience, focus, and a new skill set.
I am so grateful that I have a profession that can make these challenging adjustments, and I can continue to work and offer services during this unprecedented time in history. I am equally grateful for the lessons learned at SWC that support flexibility, creativity, and trust in the healing potentials within us all.
During this extraordinary time, when the collective is responding in such huge and unprecedented ways to support the health and wellbeing of each individual, I am inspired. How will this inform us and grow us and heal us in the future? As we pull together for the greater good, I am honored to do my small part as I have been educated and trained to do; one to one with the clear intentions of safety, encouragement, and health.
Thank you, SWC for teaching me principles that prove true, even in the most stressful world conditions. I am blessed and grateful.