Conscious Endings: Reflections on 2023

Reflections on 2023 Art Therapy

Written by Samantha Davis

As the year draws to a close, I find myself in a reflective state about the dynamic experiences of the past year – both personally and professionally, which are for me, always inextricably linked. I recently spent a day in nature to contemplate 2023 and celebrate turning the big 50 (see photo above).

December is usually buzzing with energy and many people are already feeling burnt out and fatigued. We spend a lot of our year waiting and planning for the end of the year with an expectation of actually slowing down and having fun. We get caught up in deadlines, scurrying to complete what still needs doing…

The American Psychological Association says the holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year. The expectation of making it ‘special’, the unaddressed issues and pressure cooker of family, holiday, food, presents...

Endings

For many people, endings can bring up a combination of feelings, associations and expectations. There may be apprehension or excitement, relief or overwhelm or even dread around end-of-year. Endings often create anxiety as they encompass change.

For some, the holiday period can signify a painful void. A void of a family unit. A void of a functional family system. A void of a relationship that you had hoped for. While the holidays are supposed to be a time to rest and reflect on the year, it may be incredibly lonely for some people. Please check in on friends and be sensitive to other people’s experiences whilst you celebrate your own.

December (in South Africa) is a month of endings in both our personal and professional capacities. Be it the end of a year at work, children at school or university… the last of cultural or recreational groups etc. We often automatically pass through these endings without pausing to reflect as December is just a part of the on-going solar calendar that we follow.

Conscious endings in Art Therapy

In Art Therapy, we aim to work as much as possible with a ‘conscious’ ending. On a practical or physical level this implies knowing the date of the last session/group. On an emotional or more internal level this means having opportunity, time and space to be able to reflect on and explore what endings mean for each different client in their lives. This allows a client to pace themselves in the sessions leading up to the ending and integrate the work that has already been done.

The opposite of a conscious ending would be not knowing, not acknowledging and not working with an impending ending – such as a sudden ending where there is no opportunity to say goodbye or have any form of reflection or closure. Endings that are avoided or denied, or not thought through, not discussed or reflected upon are not conscious and can be loaded with unfinished business.

Why are endings (in therapy) important?

In many clients’ previous experiences there may not have been an opportunity to say goodbye to a person or relationship through circumstances often beyond one’s control such as loss, abandonment, premature endings or even death. It can be difficult to have closure when there is no ending. Addressing endings can be an uncomfortable process in that it can bring back painful, difficult or unresolved memories of previous 'endings' in one’s life.

Ending therapy can be challenging in that strong feelings of loss, separation or abandonment may be re-experienced or felt for the first time. Either way, the therapeutic relationship needs to be a reparative experience that is different to past experiences and relationships, whereby termination is a ‘conscious’ process. This is especially helpful for a child who does not yet have a sense of time as adults do, or clients who have struggled with unprocessed loss.

Endings in Art Therapy can be really empowering and an important marker of change in terms of reflecting on and acknowledging what a client has achieved. This is all essential for personal growth, development and transformation.

Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect over the past year

Take out some paper and crayons/pencils/markers and try this…

Jot down words or symbols randomly which represent anything and everything that you associate with 2023…

Reflecting on the past can help you to acknowledge what you have been though and achieved and see it from a distance. This helps to gain perspective, access gratitude and feel more in control.

Take a new sheet of paper jot down words and/or symbols to represent your 2024.

Thinking ahead into the future is an opportunity to bring intention to what you want going forward.

You may even wish to choose the word(s) or symbol that stands out the most for you and that can be your word for each year… Take this a step further – write out your word or symbol really BIG on a new sheet of paper and decorate it – own it – make it come alive!

In closure…

Change and endings encompass change may feel scary and uncertain, but they can also be wonderful opportunities of transition to the hope and potential of what lies ahead - a new beginning.

Wishing you a conscious ending of 2023 - take time to pause and notice those little joy-filled moments this holiday season, and breathe them into your system.

Thank you all for your loyal support, feedback and interest in Art Therapy.

I am looking forward to some down time this holiday spending time locally in nature, enjoying walks, cold water swims in in the sea, sun, healthy plant-based food and fun adventures  with myself, friends, family and of course my beloved animals.

With love,
Sam

Curious about Art Therapy?

✨ Join the online Vision Board Workshop in January. Start 2024 by creating a Vision board to manifest what you want to include in your new year.

✨ Join one of the upcoming Art Therapy 3-Day Seminars:

3-Day Seminar: Part 1 (Cape Town)

3-Day Seminar: Part 1 (Online)

✨ Completed Part 1? Join the next Advanced 3-Day Seminar:

3-Day Seminar: Part 2 (Cape Town)

3-Day Seminar: Part 2 (Online)

Art Therapy Courses / Workshops in South Africa

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar (Cape Town)

18-20 March 2024  |  2 SPACES LEFT!

An 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: R6250

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar (Johannesburg)

August 2024  |  5 SPACES LEFT!

An introduction to the process of Art Therapy including theory, case studies, experiential art making, exploration, sharing daily plus journaling.

Full Fee: R6560 (Early Bird ends 30 Apr 2024)

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar (Online)

6-8 May or 13-15 May 2024  |  6 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: R5150 (Early Bird ends 29 Feb 2024)

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar: Part 2 (Cape Town)

April/May 2024  |  7 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: R6250

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar: Part 2 (Online)

April/May 2024  |  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: R5350

Learn More

Art Therapy Taster Workshop

Tues 9 April 2024  |  6 SPACES LEFT!

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: R595

Learn More

Art Therapy Vision Board Workshop (via Zoom)

Run for existing groups upon request  |  10 SPACES LEFT!

A combination of colour, pictures, words and Art Therapy techniques to identify, explore and creatively set goals for 2023. Lay the foundations for the New Year! No art experience required.

Full Fee: R760

Learn More

Art Therapy & Mindfulness Workshop (via Zoom)

2023 TBC

Join the 1-Day Art Therapy & Mindfulness Workshop (via Zoom) to explore and experience the art of being present! Tap into your innate creativity, with a focus on being in the moment, accessing joy, insight, wellness, gratitude, playfulness and having fun through art. No art experience required.

Full Fee: R1695

Learn More

Mandala Workshop (Cape Town)

2024 TBC   |  8 SPACES LEFT!

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: R860 (Early Bird ends 29 Feb 2024)

Learn More

Create - Connect - Reflect Workshop (via Zoom)

Run on request for existing groups  |  6 SPACES LEFT!

We are all trying to manage personal and professional challenges. Each one of us may have experienced significant life changes and or loss – whether it is of a physical, emotional, financial or social nature. We have all been affected by Covid -19 and struggling to get into balance and wellness again. Many of us […]

Full Fee: R580

Learn More

Art as Communication (via Zoom)

2022/2023

(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: R4650

Learn More

Art Therapy 1-Day Intro Course (via Zoom)

Run for existing groups upon request

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: R1250

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 3-Day Seminar (Cape Town)

18-20 March 2024  |  2 SPACES LEFT!

An 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: R6250

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar (Johannesburg)

August 2024  |  5 SPACES LEFT!

An introduction to the process of Art Therapy including theory, case studies, experiential art making, exploration, sharing daily plus journaling.

Full Fee: R6560 (Early Bird ends 30 Apr 2024)

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar (Online)

6-8 May or 13-15 May 2024  |  6 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: R5150 (Early Bird ends 29 Feb 2024)

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar: Part 2 (Cape Town)

April/May 2024  |  7 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: R6250

Learn More

Art Therapy 3-Day Seminar: Part 2 (Online)

April/May 2024  |  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: R5350

Learn More

Art Therapy Taster Workshop

Tues 9 April 2024  |  6 SPACES LEFT!

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: R595

Learn More

Art Therapy Vision Board Workshop (via Zoom)

Run for existing groups upon request  |  10 SPACES LEFT!

A combination of colour, pictures, words and Art Therapy techniques to identify, explore and creatively set goals for 2023. Lay the foundations for the New Year! No art experience required.

Full Fee: R760

Learn More

Art Therapy & Mindfulness Workshop (via Zoom)

2023 TBC

Join the 1-Day Art Therapy & Mindfulness Workshop (via Zoom) to explore and experience the art of being present! Tap into your innate creativity, with a focus on being in the moment, accessing joy, insight, wellness, gratitude, playfulness and having fun through art. No art experience required.

Full Fee: R1695

Learn More

Mandala Workshop (Cape Town)

2024 TBC   |  8 SPACES LEFT!

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: R860 (Early Bird ends 29 Feb 2024)

Learn More

Create - Connect - Reflect Workshop (via Zoom)

Run on request for existing groups  |  6 SPACES LEFT!

We are all trying to manage personal and professional challenges. Each one of us may have experienced significant life changes and or loss – whether it is of a physical, emotional, financial or social nature. We have all been affected by Covid -19 and struggling to get into balance and wellness again. Many of us […]

Full Fee: R580

Learn More

Art as Communication (via Zoom)

2022/2023

(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: R4650

Learn More

Art Therapy 1-Day Intro Course (via Zoom)

Run for existing groups upon request

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: R1250

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