Clarity of Mind and Being.


I have been trying to get the studio ready for next term’s art therapy participants.  I started with cleaning out the cupboards and realized just how much stuff I had that I did not use.  I pulled the doors off the cupboards and turned them into shelve, so my collecting became visible. The process reminded me of just how much clutter we collect in our lives.  Being mindful and having the ability to focus on the things that are important means eliminating clutter in the mind.  There are a lot of things happening in the world (and in our lives) that might seem important, but in reality thinking about them is probably not going to change anything.  We can only change ourselves. It might be better to have a little faith in the natural laws and let worldly things find their own level of balance.  Changing ourselves means taking responsibility for the events in our lives.    It may not be easy. Indeed,  stepping away from other peoples’ chaos can be the hardest thing a person has to do, but if we don’t do it harm becomes a continuum and nobody is helped in the process of continuing harm.



Practical Psychoanalysis

 This is a very useful article I found on a blog.
 Psychoanalysis has been dismissed over the years, mostly due to Freud’s treatment of women and feminist objections.  This is not to say the feminists were wrong in their critiques; rather to note that many feminists are also psychoanalysts and it is a mistake to colour all aspects of a discipline with one brush.
I firmly believe that psychoanalysis is the best therapy available to people with mental health problems.

How Does Psychoanalysis Work?

From Practical Psychoanalysis <>


Someone recently told me that before coming to see me they thought that people laid on the couch when they go to therapy. “That’s psychoanalysis,” I replied. “Some people still do that.

How does psychoanalysis work exactly? In the last week, a few people asked me that same question: “How did we get here? What changed that things are going so much better now? What did we do that’s different?” Almost as if there was this magical transformation that happened out of nowhere. Trust me, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Let me speak from my personal experience:

My first experience in therapy was on the couch. My analyst at the time, a self-identified Freudian with Lacanian nuances to her technique, had me lay down on the couch after a few preliminary sessions sitting up, during which I think she was gathering some basic information about my main presenting concern.

One day, I showed up for my regular appointment and she had a pillow on the left side of the couch and a small rug on the right, where my feet would go. She made a gesture pointing to the couch. “Shall I lay down?” I asked. She nodded so I did. It was awkward at first but I quickly got used to it and found a sense of relief not having to face her anymore or see her facial expressions. The only thing I had to face now were my own words, and occasionally, hers.

So how does it work? I speak… the analyst listens… then she says something. Because she doesn’t say much (this is not always true for psychoanalysts; some say more than others), I listen carefully to what she says. It’s interesting, out of the three or four years that I spoke to her, I can count my most vivid memories on my ten fingers. Two of them involve dreams, one is about an interpretation to my dream, the others revolve around my relationships and past experiences, and the last one is around the ending.

There is indeed a TRANSFORMATION that happens in the therapeutic relationship that is not magical but that has to do with the creation of MEANING through words, the expression of EMOTION and the VALIDATION of feelings past and present. What’s different about psychoanalysis from other forms of psychotherapy is the focus on the UNCONSCIOUS, on SEXUALITY and on the SYMPTOM as a way to reach the unconscious.

That symptom can be depression, anxiety, alcoholism, self-injury, hair-pulling, promiscuous behavior, an eating disorder, cheating, inability to maintain relationships, angry outbursts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, you name it. In psychoanalysis, we try to understand WHY we do what we do and we do this TOGETHER with our analyst, who has gone through the process themselves and can guide us through it.

These are lessons I have learned in my own analyses through speaking but also through my experiences helping others. There is a great deal of learning about myself, about people and about the way the human mind works that is life-long and never-ending. So, if I had to sum this up in one sentence, I would probably say that it is through KNOWLEDGE and SELF-AWARENESS that psychoanalysis works.


Shop Around for a Mental Health Expert.

It is really difficult to find good mental  health help.  There are so many different kinds of therapies and many more ideas on the best way to apply them.  In addition, a lot of mental health professionals bring to the task their own values and techniques that may not coincide with the needs and beliefs of their clients.  Further, many of the methods being used to assist people today are also band aid treatments that depend heavily on medications as the primary source of treatment for a problem.  The Australian Government provides 10 sessions with a mental health professional per year on Medicare, but these sessions can quickly be eaten up while trying to find the right person for the task.

Most people who come to me for Mindfulness sessions or Art Therapy have already done the rounds of other helping professions.  I base my work on psychoanalysis because it deals with  the unconsciousness.    Almost all of our thinking and decisions come from the unconsciousness into the conscious thought processes and are acted upon before we have a chance to unravel them and take heed.   By delving into the unconscious mind through dreams and stories, drawings and images we can open up the difficult areas of pain and trauma that drive anxiety, depression and poor decision making.

Psychoanalysis has had a bad wrap over the past decades because it is  opposed to the use of drugs as a cure for mental health problems.  Psychologists and most other mental health professionals will support the use of medications such as antidepressants.  This means that most of the money that finds its way into the area of mental health support is also directed at boosting the sales of drug companies.

Things are changing.  People are becoming aware of the harmful side affects of drugs and psychoanalysis is making a comeback.  Psychoanalysis is not an easy journey.  The chances are,  the mental health problems that have been acquired have accumulated over a lifetime.  It stands to reason they are not going to be fixed over night.  It could take several years to turn a life around.  It may mean a complete change of lifestyle, including the elimination of all drugs and harmful foods.  Changing a life will certainly include more exercise and a new attitude towards positive thinking.  It may sound difficult, but this is merely making changes to bad habits, we start small and add continual improvements.

Remember,  life is a wonderful gift, it should be enjoyed and fruitful. If we fail to embrace the tasks that make life worth living, what else is there?


We generally connect the notion of faith with religion, but faith extends far beyond religious belief.  Faith is intuitive, sense based and linked to our emotions. Faith is happening when the human consciousness knows that it is conscious.  Faith is alive, positive, creative and it turns the mundane into goodness.