Friday, April 29, 2016

Anticipating Mother's Day

Mother's Day (Cindy Kunsman)

My first multimedia work inspired by a vignette about five year old Ashley's behavior described by Francine Shapiro in
EMDR: The Breakthrough 'Eye Movement' Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Trauma.

I know too well what it's like to be Ashley.

And I'm working on writing an accompanying post for Mother's Day.

(Kindle Locations 1781-1799):

What she saw was a fair-haired little girl who was very pretty and very unhappy. When the two were alone together, Joan [the therapist] introduced herself and invited Ashley to sit on the floor with her. Ashley plopped herself down and looked around as if taking inventory.

The playroom was crowded with bright plastic toys, paints, clay, stuffed animals, wooden blocks, and dolls. For Joan, this first meeting with Ashley was to prove memorable. "It was a nightmare of an hour," Joan recalls. "Ashley went through everything in the playroom. Everything. She'd take the clay and break it up and say, `That's no good.' [. . . ] She'd pick up a doll. Dress it. Undress it. Say, `This is no good.' [. . .] Started a painting. Threw it out. Started another one. Tore it up.

There was no real play, it was just messing around with one set of stuff and moving on to the next. She went through everything we have.

I didn't really know what was going on, but what I did begin to learn in that first hour was what it felt like to be Ashley.

Her experience of the world was that nothing was satisfying. Everything was disappointing. It was as if she were saying, `I'm a disappointment. I can't do this, I can't do that, I can't do anything. Nothing has meaning.'

That's what it felt like to be Ashley. It was terrible.

[. . .]

She had to be given examples that showed her there was a cause-and-effect universe, that she was a unique and important individual, that she could express herself in ways that would lead to happy relationships, ships, and that she could safely love and be loved. Until she had a sense of a positive alternative, her negative and dysfunctional attitudes would have a firm hold; there was no positive or adaptive information to connect up with.

During their second session, Ashley began painting picture after picture, only getting as far on each one as making a single circle for the head before declaring, "That's no good," and throwing it away.