On The Magic of Words
In expressive arts counselling training, I work with colours, textures, music, songs, movement and dance, play, improvisation, drawing and doodling, voice and words.
Yet, I notice that for some of my companions words, especially when written, are suspect: after all, words are a product of the left side of the brain, and aren't we supposed to stimulate the right side, so that our clients can free themselves from the inhibition induced by judgment and left-brain logic... Therefore, verbalisation is used with a sort of justificatory and apologetic attitude, as a final step.
But the power of words is much vaster than that.
I believe in word magic, i.e. the heightened sensory and emotional weight words carry, when we write, read, tell and listen to stories, narratives and poems.
In my practice, I use words in three different ways:
1. Words as a clarifying and synthetising tool,
2. Words as a cherishing container for experiences, memories, emotions and ideas,
3. Words as enchantment through story and poetry.
I work with story and poetry primarily as portals towards higher consciousness and deeper awareness. The language of story and poetry is highly metaphorical and symbolic. It is full of images, sounds, textures, movement, smells and flavours.
A good story or poem activates our response on several levels, by acting on our senses, memory, emotions, imagination and ability to envision what is next.
We can know deeply and experientially through story and poetry: it is a kind of knowledge that does not necessarily rely on facts, but on connections, relations, correspondences, striking realizations, intimate understanding, sometimes a shocking sense of estrangement.
Through story and poetry, words become our home, where we can make meaning of our human experience. Through story and poetry, words also become our vehicles for explorations and adventures in the uncharted territories of human hearts and relationships, as well as our relationship with ourselves and with nature.
Thus, as all lovers of literature know, we can use words as magic wands to face our dragons, integrate our shadows and erect our castles of meaning and beauty.
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