Three years ago I wrote a blog post about how some white therapists view their role in discussing issues of race with clients. I thought this would be a good time to revisit the idea.
Race is built into who we are as Americans. Even when we don't notice it, it is there. I strongly believe it is appropriate to bring up in therapy because I also believe we as therapists should be treating the whole person, not just particular parts. And I also believe we have a responsibility to the greater society to address difficult issues. I know I can do better myself, and there is always more to learn and do.
The Light Stream exercise was created by Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR, in 2001. I recorded a version of this exercise recently and am happy to share it here — I hope it helps bring you a sense of peace of calm to allow you to continue to do what's important to you in life.
What a difference two months makes.
The photo on the left was taken Feb. 12 in my therapy office in San Diego. The one on the right is from April 24. I stopped seeing clients in person March 12. I moved out of my office permanently May 9. For the time being, I am now an online-only therapist seeing clients from my home.
I loved my office. I LOVED my office. After moving in a year and a half ago, I wanted to spend all of my time there. It was my biggest creative project ever, and I never took it for granted.
It was a joy to create a space I hoped would feel safe and comfortable for my clients. A friend said being in my office felt like relaxing in a garden. To me it was like being immersed in an underwater oasis – all blues and teals.
I loved it.
And then the pandemic hit. About a month later, a colleague mentioned she was looking for a full-time office space to conduct online therapy sessions — having roommates and a cat wasn't conducive to her home office. Even though I haven’t known this friend very long, I immediately realized she would love my space. It was meant for her, and offering it to her seemed like the best thing to do.
It also seemed like the worst thing to do. Another part was very much like: “What?!?! Why would you do that? You love your space. You've worked so hard for it." There were tears, there were consultations, there were responses during those consultations that looked like this:
Them: Well, it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind about your office...
Me: Yes, I think you’re right but, Noooooooo!!!!!
I allowed myself to grieve and let go, and it was all because of these reasons:
My therapy couches went to a good friend, and they now look spiffy at her place. I know she will respect all of the emotional hard work that happened on those sticks of furniture.
And that’s all that my office was in the end – couches, lamps, artwork, tea kettle, teddy bear. Now I have lots of cool stuff I get to enjoy in my home, in a different context.
There is one thing that hasn't changed. Early on in the quarantine when my clients and I first started meeting online, I reminded them that they were still them and I was still me. The most important part of therapy – our relationship – remained intact. Nothing will ever change that.
I may decide to have an office space again one day. Or maybe I’ll meet with clients occasionally in the park for walk-and-talk sessions if and when it’s safe to do so.
In the meantime, I’ve been able to do some good work online – even EMDR reprocessing has been effective over video, much to my happy surprise.
As a friend advised me when I was making my decision whether or not to keep my office, right now it’s important to have the ability to adapt. It feels strange not being able to make plans for the future of my life or my business because no one knows what the future holds. But we we're all trying our hardest and making decisions with the information we have on hand at the time. It’s the best we can do.
I was recently invited to write a story for my local newspaper, The San Diego Union-Tribune. I was honored to be able to have the opportunity to reach out to the community during this time of global pandemic, when connecting with others has become complicated.
I decided to focus on the topic of grief in my story. It may seem confusing to be grieving right now, especially if no one you know has died from coronavirus. Yet grief and loss can come in many forms. If you are an arts lover, for example, you may be feeling sorrow over the shows you're now missing and the artists you had wanted to support. Or maybe you are missing out on your own opportunities to perform or participate.
I would encourage you to allow yourself to experience these feelings. They may hurt. It may feel like the sorrow will never end. The funny thing is, though, when we tell the truth — particularly the truth about our emotions — the truth tends to shift. Feelings are meant to be experienced, listened to, shared when appropriate, and acted upon. Creativity is a wonderful way to express your truth right now.
This crisis will end one day. Until then, be easy with yourself and others. We're all doing the best we can. And we're all truly in this together.
P.S. My full article can be found here.
I recently was interviewed on two different podcasts about the benefits of creativity to mental health — Unapologetically Sensitive, and Design Your Dream Life. I hope you find them interesting and inspiring. Enjoy!
The subtitle of Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way" is: "A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” This means she talks about God. Kind of a lot.
In my experience leading Artist’s Way groups, first as a coach and later as a therapist, participants have had varying responses to the use of the G-word in the book. For some, thinking about God in the context of creativity feels uncomfortable and too restrictive. For others, the way Cameron describes God in the book is much too lenient for their taste.
Cameron says the letters G-O-D can stand for “good orderly direction.” I would call it “flow.” Some people use “Universe” as a substitute for God. And for some it’s impossible to separate the word “God" from, well, God.
What does it mean to embark on a spiritual path to higher creativity? The answer is as different as each individual’s definition of spirituality. For me, it’s about values. Do I value being rich and famous over authentic artistic expression? Or do I value process over product? Or maybe it’s important for me to balance both of those things.
What embarking on spiritual path isn’t about, in my opinion, is doing things like everyone else. It’s not about copying and pasting and calling it art. It’s about finding my voice and connecting my voice to the larger, universal voice of humanity. That is spiritual for me.
It’s difficult to talk about spirituality because it’s more of a feeling than a thing. Yet I know it when I feel it. And in my Artist’s Way groups I try to foster a sense of belonging, peace, and unity.
Now if I could only find a good word for that...
Join us for the next 12-week Artist's Way Workshop therapy group! This popular offering will help you overcome creative blocks and rediscover your inner artist child. Weekend and weekday options available. More info:
You may choose to pay for the 12-week workshop in full or in two installments:
UPDATE: Rescheduled to a new date & time
2-4 pm Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018
Did you know writer's block is temporary? It sure doesn't feel that way when you're in it. It can be helpful to know others are in the same boat, though. Feel free to join us for the next Unlocking Writer's Block workshop. You will learn more about why you get blocked and how to endure, and even thrive, during the times that feel empty and unproductive. You may gain a new sense of hope and appreciation for your creative process. See you soon!
Unlocking Writer's Block With Rachel Moore, LMFT
10 am-12 pm July 8, 2018
San Diego Writer's Ink
SDWI members: $30
Click here to register
I'm happy to announce I'll be offering a free community talk at the San Diego Central Library at 6:30 pm Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.
This will be an interactive chat for people who are interested in learning how creativity can help improve their mood and their life. Please see the video above for more information, or click here.
Registration Opens Aug. 1, 2018
Someone asked me recently what my favorite thing is about my job as a therapist. I said it's facilitating Artist's Way Workshop therapy groups, hands down. I've been leading groups based on the book by Julia Cameron for more than 10 years now, and I look forward to it every time. There's something magical that happens when a group of people gets together to support one another in the service of art and creativity. And the spiritual element of Cameron's book adds a deeper dimension to the process.
I hope you can join us for the next 12-week Artist's Way Workshops in September, 2018, in San Diego. This time there will be both weekend and weekday options. More information: The Artist's Way Workshop
-Rachel Moore, LMFT
P.S. Click here to sign up for email alerts about the next Artist's Way Workshop. Please contact Rachel if you have any questions.
Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapy in San Diego, CA. Rachel helps writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types overcome anxiety and trauma. She is certified in EMDR therapy and also trained in Brainspotting.