Communication and Connection: Then and Now

Written by Samantha Davis

I recently went to visit my father’s childhood home in Muizenburg, Cape Town, which was his family home for 35 years. The part that stood out for me the most was my dad directing me (via Whatsapp video) to “Walk through the entrance, turn a sharp left and slide open the cupboard on the wall…” (Pause) “Can you see the telephone?” he asked expectantly.  And there it was: the 100+ year old phone still sitting in its corner some 40 years later.

Growing up, we only had the use of phones with long ‘umbilical’-type cords that were connected to a wall (yes, I am aware I am giving away my age here). When someone wanted to make a call, it was a planned and structured occurrence in that one would need to go to where the phone was located, select each individual number on the dial separately (moving ones finger through the dial clockwise), waiting for each dial to complete before selecting the next number. When the phone rang, one would need to ask specifically for the person whom one wanted to speak to and wait for that person to come to the phone, as of course it was either a home or business landline. It was a deliberate process; one that took time and patience. A call was often thought through consciously in terms of availability – will the person be home or at work; and respect — in terms of if it's past 9pm could I still call or will it wake the other members of the home? Calls were generally purposeful in terms of either calling to relay a message or to communicate with someone. There was also a specific, timeous, reciprocal start and end to a conversation. I may even go as far as saying that there was a form of connection in that one could hear a person’s tone through the use of voice — hence the conversation had a beginning and an ending, a consent and a form of reciprocity.

Fast forward a couple of decades... Here we are in 2021 where we have instant gratification in accessing anyone, whenever we want. It can be quite an impulsive, self-gratifying and unconscious behaviour. We can have many different ‘conversations’ with different people, simultaneously through text. We can multi-task so deviously that a person would never know if they have our full attention or if we were simultaneously whatsapping whilst in a Zoom conference, and having a pedicure (you get the vibe).

These days, communication can often feel rushed, disconnected and lacking in meaning. Take Whatsapp or Telegram: we don’t ever really know when one conversation starts and one ends. Or is it nowadays an ongoing and infinite process? Communication in modern times also provides instant entry and exit. It’s as if there are no rules — a free for all.

So you may be asking by now: what is my point? Good thinking!

My point is the following:

  1. Slow down. Take a breath. Put your phone aside for a moment. Yes, now. Let’s bring back some mindfulness. Take a deeper breath and slowly exhale.
  2. Things change. Continuously. The Buddha said to “Remember that the only constant in life is change”. Hence our flexibility is essential.
  3. It is so much easier to communicate these days with the aid of modern technology. There is so much new information and so many new devices out there that potentially promise to make our lives easier, faster, better, fuller and safer.

We can all get lost in the rush and buzz of what is new out there. However, slowing down is also a positive and useful way of expressing oneself in a world that is so fast-paced. Focusing on one thing at a time; being mindful of time spent on social media. Being patient: messages will get answered at the right time. Trusting. Remembering to pause. Going outside and using your senses to breathe, to smell, to see, to hear. Back to basics. This also helps us to connect to ourselves and to try to remain grounded during trying times.

There is so much unknown out there during the pandemic. So much isolation and fear. Check in often with family and friends. Check in with people whom you have not had contact with in a while. Everyone is going through challenges. Use your actual voice to reach out - send a voice note or call them. Hearing someone’s voice can be so warm, containing and nurturing in a time like this.

We can get so used to technology being creative ‘for’ us - that being available online. Creativity is one of the easiest, cheapest and most accessible ways of managing anxiety, stress, loss and change. Using your own hands to create is such a powerful, simple action. Creativity is flexibility in action!

My takeaway is to receive and to use the gifts of modern technology consciously and with purpose; not just for communication but also for connection. Connection to both yourself and connection to others.

A creative and mindful exercise to try...

  1. Take a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon.
  2. Take a deep breath in. Hold it for a bit.
  3. Slowly begin to release. As you are breathing out… simultaneously imagine that you are following your breath with the crayon along the paper.
  4. Be curious about where each line goes. How does the line change as you breathe out? Is it thicker/thinner/lighter/darker/longer/shorter? Just notice.
  5. Repeat this a few times, perhaps with different colours.
  6. So each time you take a breath… you are rediscovering your innate creativity. Getting back to your breath and to your flow. Enjoy!

PS. What prompted me to write this? When I heard my niece listening to her pre-recorded online lesson at a speed of 1.5 then realizing that I too can listen to my voice notes at a 50% faster speed – to save time, of course, and have a giggle at how funny it sounds 😊.

Curious about Art Therapy?

Please note that one can only legitimately use ‘Art Therapy’ with clients once you have undergone a registered Art Therapy training (which is only available internationally) and are then registered with the HPCSA. For more info on an international Masters in Art Therapy, go here.

Art Therapy Courses / Workshops in South Africa

Art Therapy Taster Workshop

Thurs 7 Oct 2021

Short 2.5 hour online taster session where you can find out about Art Therapy in South Africa as well as have a short hands-on experience of both exploring Art Therapy and gaining awareness of the theories that underlie the practice.

Full Fee: R450

Learn More

Create - Connect - Reflect Workshop (via Zoom)

Mon 11 Oct 2021  |  2 SPACES LEFT!

We are all fighting two invisible enemies – Covid-19 and mental health challenges. Each one of us has experienced significant life changes and loss – whether it is of a physical, emotional, financial or social nature. We have all been affected. Many of us are in a state of stuckness, confusion or in limbo. Uncertainty, […]

Full Fee: R580

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Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar: Part 1 (via Zoom)

27-29 Sept 2021 (ONE space left) or 8-10 Nov or 15-17 Nov 2021  |  5 SPACES LEFT!

CPD points for HPCSA registered professionals.

An ONLINE introduction to the process of Art Therapy including theory, case studies, experiential art making, exploration, sharing daily plus journaling. Less intense, lighter, shorter and cheaper than the 5-Day Intensive Course.

Full Fee: R5250 R4950 (Early Bird ends 30 Sep 2021)

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Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar: Part 2 (via Zoom)

25-27 Oct 2021  |  6 SPACES LEFT!

*NEW* Advanced Online Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar – after completion of the Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar or the Art Therapy 5-Day Intensive course – this ADVANCED or TOP-UP Seminar is built on previously explored concepts and group experiences.

Full Fee: R4950

Learn More

Mandala Workshop (via Zoom)

Mon 9 Aug 2021 (National Women's Day)

A Mandala is a Sanskrit word for a ‘sacred’ or ‘magic circle’. Mandalas have been used for centuries in meditative and creative practices. This half day workshop is designed to help you relax and unwind and get into a space of being in the present moment through art, visualization, letting go in order to access a spontaneous, innate creative place within yourself. A real treat!

Full Fee: R680

Learn More

Art Therapy 1-Day Intro Course (via Zoom)

Run for existing groups upon request  |  7 SPACES LEFT!

This one-day course is aimed at introducing you to the dynamic and exciting process of Art Therapy and how it can be applied to adults and children of all ages. An exciting combination of learning, experiential art-making and questions and answers in a group environment. No art experience required!

Full Fee: R1350 R1250

Learn More

Art Therapy Vision Board Workshop (via Zoom)

Thurs 14 Oct or Mon 18 Oct 2021  |  8 SPACES LEFT!

A combination of colour, pictures, words and Art Therapy techniques to identify, explore and creatively set goals for 2021. Lay the foundations for the New Year! No art experience required.

Full Fee: R750

Learn More

Art as Communication (via Zoom)

2021/2022

(This course runs online for 8 consecutive weeks)

An online experiential art making workshop and exploring of images within a group format, whilst introducing basic Art Therapy theoretical ''concepts''. Various art materials are used as a means of self-expression and communication.

Full Fee: R4950 R4650

Learn More
Art Therapy for Corporates

Creative Workshops for Corporates

Run on request for existing groups

Tailor-made for organisations and corporate settings! Various creative interventions available, which encompass a uniquely developed and researched methodology utilizing practical, creative and experiential learning rather than the traditional 'learning from lecture and notes' approach.

Learn More
Art Therapy in Education

Art Therapy Workshops for Educators

Run on request for existing groups

Tailor-made Art Therapy workshops for groups of educators, art teachers and councillors working in school settings. Choose from a 2 hour mini-workshop or a 1-Day Art Therapy workshop...

Learn More

Art Therapy Courses / Workshops in South Africa

Art Therapy Taster Workshop

Thurs 7 Oct 2021

Short 2.5 hour online taster session where you can find out about Art Therapy in South Africa as well as have a short hands-on experience of both exploring Art Therapy and gaining awareness of the theories that underlie the practice.

Full Fee: R450

Learn More

Create - Connect - Reflect Workshop (via Zoom)

Mon 11 Oct 2021  |  2 SPACES LEFT!

We are all fighting two invisible enemies – Covid-19 and mental health challenges. Each one of us has experienced significant life changes and loss – whether it is of a physical, emotional, financial or social nature. We have all been affected. Many of us are in a state of stuckness, confusion or in limbo. Uncertainty, […]

Full Fee: R580

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar: Part 1 (via Zoom)

27-29 Sept 2021 (ONE space left) or 8-10 Nov or 15-17 Nov 2021  |  5 SPACES LEFT!

CPD points for HPCSA registered professionals.

An ONLINE introduction to the process of Art Therapy including theory, case studies, experiential art making, exploration, sharing daily plus journaling. Less intense, lighter, shorter and cheaper than the 5-Day Intensive Course.

Full Fee: R5250 R4950 (Early Bird ends 30 Sep 2021)

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar: Part 2 (via Zoom)

25-27 Oct 2021  |  6 SPACES LEFT!

*NEW* Advanced Online Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar – after completion of the Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar or the Art Therapy 5-Day Intensive course – this ADVANCED or TOP-UP Seminar is built on previously explored concepts and group experiences.

Full Fee: R4950

Learn More

Mandala Workshop (via Zoom)

Mon 9 Aug 2021 (National Women's Day)

A Mandala is a Sanskrit word for a ‘sacred’ or ‘magic circle’. Mandalas have been used for centuries in meditative and creative practices. This half day workshop is designed to help you relax and unwind and get into a space of being in the present moment through art, visualization, letting go in order to access a spontaneous, innate creative place within yourself. A real treat!

Full Fee: R680

Learn More

Art Therapy 1-Day Intro Course (via Zoom)

Run for existing groups upon request  |  7 SPACES LEFT!

This one-day course is aimed at introducing you to the dynamic and exciting process of Art Therapy and how it can be applied to adults and children of all ages. An exciting combination of learning, experiential art-making and questions and answers in a group environment. No art experience required!

Full Fee: R1350 R1250

Learn More

Art Therapy Vision Board Workshop (via Zoom)

Thurs 14 Oct or Mon 18 Oct 2021  |  8 SPACES LEFT!

A combination of colour, pictures, words and Art Therapy techniques to identify, explore and creatively set goals for 2021. Lay the foundations for the New Year! No art experience required.

Full Fee: R750

Learn More

Art as Communication (via Zoom)

2021/2022

(This course runs online for 8 consecutive weeks)

An online experiential art making workshop and exploring of images within a group format, whilst introducing basic Art Therapy theoretical ''concepts''. Various art materials are used as a means of self-expression and communication.

Full Fee: R4950 R4650

Learn More
Art Therapy for Corporates

Creative Workshops for Corporates

Run on request for existing groups

Tailor-made for organisations and corporate settings! Various creative interventions available, which encompass a uniquely developed and researched methodology utilizing practical, creative and experiential learning rather than the traditional 'learning from lecture and notes' approach.

Learn More
Art Therapy in Education

Art Therapy Workshops for Educators

Run on request for existing groups

Tailor-made Art Therapy workshops for groups of educators, art teachers and councillors working in school settings. Choose from a 2 hour mini-workshop or a 1-Day Art Therapy workshop...

Learn More