I did E-mail Art Therapy with a woman who was severely and repeatedly traumatized
in her early years. Her memories were so frightening to her that she suppressed them
in her subconscious mind, where they were kept unseen, by using a lot of mental and
emotional effort. She lived what could be seen from the outside, a normal life. She
married, had a child and worked. But the mental and emotional efforts to keep the
memories caged took their toll. She became ill in several ways. The hardest ailment
to withstand was her migraine headaches. Nothing could cure them.
In desperation she went to a pain clinic, where hypnosis was used. There, while under
hypnosis, the dam of her defense broke and her memories flooded her mind. Now, after
being suppressed for so long, they were very strong and nothing could stop them.
Day and night they played their movies of the past and tore her apart emotionally.
She could not work, could not sleep and could not focus on anything but these memories.
She decided to go to therapy. The therapist sat her on the patient’s chair and asked
her to talk. She could not. She continued seeing therapists with the hope that she
will be able to talk. She thought that this was what she had to do. But she still
could not talk.
Then she communicated with me through E-mail.
I offered her to draw something. It did not have to be about her memories. It could
be anything she wanted to draw. Then I asked her to scan it to her computer or to
photograph it digitally and send it to me as an attachment to an E-mail. It turned
out she was comfortable with computer programs, and she did her drawing with Adobe
When it came to me, even though it was not about what had happened to her, I saw
a lot in it. I saw being watched constantly, being threatened, being close to death,
being in an inflexible and imposing environment and many other things. I wrote back
to her with what I saw and she sent me another drawing, which again was not about
what had happened to her. We corresponded in this way one or two more times.
When she realized that even though I did not know the details, I knew her experiences,
she felt that she was in a safe place and started to draw all that happened to her
in her childhood. The decision to do so came from her free will. This indeed was
only the beginning.