Friday, August 31, 2012

hansel and gretel - part 1

 Is there more to the story of Hansel and Gretel? 
Or, is it just a story about a mean, evil stepmother who
sends her two stepchildren out into the woods to
fend for themselves?

I'm starting down the road toward my master's project and my curiosity is leading me to fairy tales, metaphor and personal transformation.  I'd like to share my musings and discoveries.  Please feel free, in fact, I encourage you, to write your reactions, thoughts, insights (please be respectful - I can take criticism, but not in the form of put-down, judgment, or through the use of inappropriate language).
So, here goes.

I see the story of Hansel and Gretel as the edge between adolescence and young adult-hood.  It's a story of when it's time to "grow-up" and take steps on your own. 

If a fairy tale is a story containing symbols and the symbols are pieces of our personal psyche (as Carl Jung suggested), then how does this particular one play out. Let's start with the basic characters:  Father, Mother (even though she's absent from the story, she's there by fact that there are two children), Stepmother, Hansel, Gretel. Now, let's assign them their purpose in the story:
Father = provider
Mother = nurturer

Hansel = faith, hope, trust
Gretel = fear
Hansel + Gretel = the combined energy of masculine and feminine that we all, individually, hold

Step-mother = learning to self-nurture.  I'll explain this thought.
At some point in all of our lives, we need to take the lessons learned from our mother's and begin to apply them to ourselves, for ourselves. It's a difficult step to take, one that is not always easily assumed.  It's much easier to stay the child and be taken care of then to take the next step and nurture ourselves.  So, the idea of "evil stepmother" comes into play.  In a child's mind the mother wouldn't hurt or harm them, but the stepmother would send them out to learn how to take care of themselves.  In a sense, we become the step-mother in our efforts of trying to nurture ourselves as our mother would. 

The other character symbols at the beginning of the story are, The Great Forest and the Cottage.   Jung suggested that the great forest is the deep dark yearnings of our soul, the going inward to the dark places, our spirit.  The cottage represents the body.

So, that's it for now.  Something to start thinking about.  In my next blog, I will start applying these ideas to the story and we can see how it all plays out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

art therapy is a bridge

I love this image. To me, it clearly depicts what art therapy is. 

It's the bridge.  

Art therapy is the action that connects the left and the right hemispheres of our brain.  It allows us to move from the left side of busy doing, organizing and compartmentalizing to the creativity and freedom of right side. It also helps us to take the freedom and imagination of the right side, bring it back to the left, and turn an idea into a tangible  thing.

Art therapy is a tool that helps us to use our whole brain.  It's a great way to get "unstuck" from one side and move to the other side.  In my opinion, to move freely, back and forth between the right and left hemisphere, is to live fully.  Thought into action.

But, you don't have to take my word for it.  
Experience this for yourself.  
Come join the 
Discover Your Creative Power Open Art Studio 
Saturday, September 1 from 9:30 - 11:00
at Aslan Institute.

All materials are provided. Just bring your sense of adventure and discovery.
Cost:  $25 includes everything

To register, contact Connie Cohen at or call 612-483-1673

Pull yourself out of the cubbies of gray matter and cross the bridge.

Aslan Institute
4141 Old Sibley Memorial Highway
Eagan, 55122

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

better than chicken soup

Art therapy is just plain good for your soul.  In fact, I think is much better than chicken soup (and I'm a big fan of chicken soup).  It's an easy way to re-connect with yourself.  It can be as simple as just making art. Or, you can take it to a deeper, more insightful level. The magic of art will work  wherever it is that you want to go with it.

In our busy lives, we rarely take time to do something special for ourselves. The Open Studio Workshop is for you to take care of you.  Do it to rejuvenate and to see another side of yourself. Do it because you think you can't (because you really can).  Do it just because.

Come join in the fun and exploration on September 1, 2012 at The Aslan Institute from 9:30 - 11:00
(Directions to Aslan Institute are posted below)

For more information or to register, 
contact me at: or 612-483-1673

Here are a few images of things created in previous Open Studio's:

Directions to Aslan Institute 

4141 Old Sibley Memorial Highway
Eagan, Minnesota, 55122

Cedar Ave / Hwy 77 South
Past Mall of America and over the river
Take the Diffley Road exit, turning right on Diffley.
Drive about a block and turn right onto Old Sibley Memorial Highway
Take the first left towards the radio towers and Aslan Institute will be on you left hand side.

Monday, August 6, 2012

discover your creative power

I will be offering an opportunity to unleash and explore your creative power.  The workshop will be held at Aslan Institute, Saturday, September 1 from 9:30 - 11:30. 

This is an opportunity to experience an innovative therapeutic art-making process.  The process is gentle, easily accessible, and can help open the creative power that lies uniquely within all of us. The workshop is structured around four points:  intention, art-making, art witnessing, and sharing.  Individually, we will each set an intention for the 45 minutes of art making. At the end of the art-making, you'll have an opportunity to "talk" to your art and listen to what your inner creative spirit has to share with you.  Sharing of your work and discovery is optional. 

For anyone who is skittish about making art in a group, rest assured that comments, either good or bad, are not allowed.  This is a personal journey and the format of the workshop allows you to freely explore your own inner callings, create with abandon, and uncover your unique creative voice.

A variety of art materials will be provided.  No art experience necessary, honest!

Price:  $25 / person

For more information or to register, email me at:

what is art therapy?

I am very excited to start this blog and to keep all who are interested in what I'm doing in the field of Art Therapy.

For starters, people often ask, "What is Art therapy and do I have to be good at art in order to do it?"  I'll answer the second part of the question first.  Quite simply...No, you do not have to be an artist or have any artist talent to reap great benefits from art therapy.  Art therapy is a wonderful tool to help unlock personal blocks that are not easily accessible through verbal therapy.  It aids in facilitating a connection to your deeper self and helps to clarify and expand your personal vision.  Ultimately, it helps to build self-esteem. 

The focus of art therapy is on the process, not the product.  Non-threatening techniques are used that help you to relax and become a part of the process.  In so doing, much is revealed to you about yourself.  Art therapy, when used in conjunction with talk therapy, creates a "whole brain" experience.

So, there it is, in a nut shell.  Art therapy is a great way to access a deeper connection to yourself in a very opening, exploratory way.

If you'd like more information, please feel free to contact me.