What a wonderful time again in Bangkok in 2018!
I felt blessed again to have the opportunity to teach the one month November 2018 psychopathology module in Bangkok, for the IPATT program. Dr. Jo, art therapist and director of the IPATT program, is a very welcoming and warm person; she took great care of us with her husband and little Mali, her adorable daughter!
The students are interested and interesting; it is a wonderful experience to be able to get to know people from a different culture. Art therapy seems to be a given for Thaï people; they understand very quickly the power of the image and most of the time, they get in contact with their inner experience very deeply through the image and the media. Communication through the right side of the brain seems more natural to you, Thaï people, than to us, in the north american continent, who tend to be overly rational!
I taught dreams and I taught somatic art therapy, two of my art therapy specialties, as studio activities and they were very much appreciated. It was the last module for most of the students before they got into their practicum and research. As one of the last activities of this group, we did a fun drawing : after Dr. Jo took a picture of the group, we all had to reproduce a piece of it, drawing on a vertical paper, before joining all the pieces together side by side. The resulting portrait was very funny (See Figure 1) and great fun to do. It will remain as a last fun memory for the group.
Figure 1. Group portrait!
I also taught a 6 days intensive class in somatic art therapy. Christine Brière, an art therapist from Gatineau, Québec, who trained with us in Université du Québec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, came to assist me and Dr. Jo in the workshop. Christine was deeply appreciated by the students as she, Dr. Jo and myself accompanied the 10 students in their deepest personal work in somatic art therapy. Christine also presented the heurictic research she had conducted for her Master’s degree in art therapy, which helped students in their own healing process.
For this class, I had the pleasure to meet again most of last year’s students. It was such a deep and meaningful experience! The emerging main theme was the right to live our life as we wish, as women in ou respective cultures. Deeply moving work! The group felt the need to create a support group following the intensive, as a way to support each other in giving oneself the right to enjoy the life they wish to live.
While in Bangkok, my husband and I enjoyed very much walking the city and visiting the temples. This year again, I went to visit the reclining Buddha. Everytime I see it, I feel deeply moved by it. The Royal Palace’s splendor is so very amazing for me with it’s unique architectural designs, something we don’t get to see in our culture (See Figure 2).
Figure 2. A temple in the Royal Palace.
But this year, I also had a very special opportunity as I accompanied Dr. Jo to a meeting of Bangkok art therapists who were preparing together an exhibition on art therapy for the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Center Museum. This exhibition is scheduled to be in the Museum from June to October 2019. I had an opportunity to talk to these art therapists about my work in somatic art therapy. They were very interested and very grateful that I am bringing this work to Thaïland. For me, it gives a whole lot more meaning to my perceived mission in life, which is to develop the art therapy profession. Now it’s not just in Québec and Canada, it’s even in Thaïland! I had a dream afterwards about the Chao Praya, Bangkok’s river, which showed me that (See picture 3).
Figure 3. On the Chao Praya at night!
And recently, in March 2019, they celebrated the first meeting of the Art therapists Association in Thaïland!. It is wonderful to see how much development is happening in Thaïland! Thank you to you both, Lucille and Dr. Jo!
I am so very grateful for such a deeply human experience in Thaïland.
Johanne Hamel, D. Ps., ATPQ, CATA
Psychologist and art psychotherapist,
IPATT and CIIAT teacher.