In November 2011 four Latvian Art Therapists, members of Latvia’s Professional Association of Transpersonal Psychology returned home, happy and tired, after 3 weeks participation in a project, supported by the EU Life learning program, Leonardo da Vinci mobility.
These four women are kind of ‘pioneers’ in Art Therapy in Latvia, because the profession of Art Therapist is quite new – the education in Riga Stradina University started only in 2006. The Transpersonal direction of Art Therapy in Latvia we started to develop only few years ago. That’s why the ideas from more experienced colleagues are very important in developing this new field. We were very happy, that the EU Life learning program supported our project, because until this, it seemed to be very complicated to get any financing for a project of a Transpersonal association.
Our partner organization – Hands Inc. in London provided us with an excellent program that was quite challenging, because we had to work hard every day, but it was inspiring and creative. Our program included to see very different settings of Art Therapies – in education, in private practices, in psychiatric clinics. We were lucky enough to see our famous colleagues at work, whose books we had read during our studies. We were happy to do art work at Vicky Barber’s studio, exploring one of her well- known art play methods. Marian Liebmann – one of the most outstanding Art Therapists working in Bristol gave us an opportunity to see her at her work premises and shared with us some cases.
Our “Master Maria” (Galvez Patino) gave us the brilliant possibility to see her job working with children. She also organized meetings for us in different environments where Art Therapy helps people to recover or to improve their well- being. We visited the open studio “Studio Upstairs”, where almost everyone can come to create art. We talked to the client, who had been attending the studio for almost 10 years and he told us that he “used art-making instead of pills”. What an advertisement!
We were impressed by the variety of education possibilities for Art Therapists and to compare it with Latvia’s education, included much more art making and transpersonal orientated experience during studies. At the beautifully decorated (what a masterpiece!) Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education we were introduced to the Course Director Claire-Louise Leyland and had a chance to talk to students and to become acquainted with the MA in Integrative Arts Psychotherapy.
At Roehamton University we had a chance to attend the brilliant lecture of the well-known Jungian analyst Martin Shmidt on Transference and Counter Transference and to exchange views with students.
One of the most outstanding meeting was with the psychotherapist Chris Davis at the St. Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney – to get to know some of her professional secrets to survive in such a hard work – to help people to cope with death.
We were inspired by theenthusiasm and diplomatic wisdom by John Drew from EUROTAS. John told us about the history of the transpersonal movement in Europe and about his own experience in transpersonal psychology.
Finally, it was so lovely to meet Susan Michaelson – EUROTAS member, artist and transpersonal art therapist, who visited us in Latvia and gave two seminars a few years ago. Sue invited us to her house in Hastings. Her husband was cooking us wonderful Maroccian food, Sue told us about her works and journeys around the world, and for a moment we felt like really “the world has become as one!”
We are really glad, that many of these people whom we met in UK were interested to come to our EUROTAS 2012 conference in Latvia. Hope to see you all!
from Dace Visnola, Agija Bogdanova, Anda Lase and Ingrida Indane – Inese Berzina. (all members of Latvia’s Professional Association of Transpersonal Psychology)