Guided Drawing – What it is and How it Works

I’ve been wanting to run a Guided Drawing workshop for some time now, but the restrictions of the pandemic and the new ways of interacting have meant a rather long delay. As I write this, I’m aware of wanting to connect and speak personally to whoever is reading this. A longing to share thoughts and feelings…

Guided Drawing is a bilateral drawing method, i.e. using both hands simultaneously in rhythmic movements to make marks on paper, using chalks, paint, crayon and pastels. It is a sensorimotor art therapy, developed from the findings of a woman called Marie Hippius in the 1930’s. Hippius formed an understanding of the effects emotions were having on individuals handwriting. She called Guided Drawing, ‘meditation in motion’.

Guided Drawing is a body focused form of art therapy, by which I mean, the emphasis is on internal orientation, such as tension in the shoulders or butterflies in the stomach. This is very much a process bias form of art therapy, the focus is on how it feels. Once we feel these movements, we can begin to be aware of their sensory resonance in the body. As this happens affect arises and we can respond emotionally.

The drawing process mirrors the tension and collapse in the muscles and viscera, as well as the powerful emotions associated with our limbic heritage. Guided Drawing does not ask for a story however, but rather assists in reducing stress and regulating the nervous system.

I am really excited to be hosting four Guided Drawing workshops in June and July, please see the flyer below for details and I look forward to welcoming you. I’ve also added a short film to show Guided Drawing in action.

Kintsugi Inspired Workshop

Since writing my last post, I have been developing a series of workshops that draw from the philosophy of Kintsugi and invited friend and fellow art psychotherapist to help me run them.

Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of mending a broken piece of pottery with lacquered gold.  The tradition began as an aesthetically pleasing solution to mending a precious tea bowl in the 15th century.  Its philosophy however, is rooted in the idea that an object’s history becomes the very thing that makes the object more precious and by enhancing its ‘brokenness’, which becomes part of its ‘story’,  it becomes that much more beautiful. 

As I mentioned before, Peter Levine compared Kintsugi to how we might view someone who has been through any number of life’s challenges such as; trauma, bereavement or loss and see that person as more beautiful with the marks of their experience as visible signs of their life’s journey. 

How wonderful then to embrace our imperfections, our fragility, our tender hearts and celebrate these as part of our humanity, particularly in a time where culture not only encourages the opposite but rewards it. 

So the aim of these workshops are to bring a little bit of Kintsugi into your life.  

I will post dates, times and more details soon.

Refugees & War Trauma: A Day with Peter Levine

Last week I attended a day’s symposium with the trauma expert Peter Levine.  I have followed and admired Peter’s work for several years.  His theories on how the body holds trauma, how it can become trapped within viscera and muscles and lead to chronic pain, and mental health issues, have inspired me to explore further how listening to the body in psychotherapy, can offer insight and understanding to a persons experience.

Within this capacity, my aim is to slow things down in a session, to notice sensations, movements, small nuances that manifest in the body.  This is a first step in creating a closer, more respectful relationship with our bodies, so that we can be receptive to what it might be telling us.

Peter talked about the Japanese tradition of Wabi Sabi, the art of imperfection. He spoke about human beings as being more beautiful with wounds that have been healed, like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which is that of repairing pottery with gold.


I am looking to do a creative making workshop that incorporates this idea of repair and mending. I will post further details in the following weeks.