Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Light and Dark

I had an interesting conversation with a young child the other day. Like most individuals at the clinic, this person had suffered a horrendous type of trauma. And like most, experiences life and their emotions as something dark and foreboding. We talked about light vs. darkness in order to find meaning and healing to the traumatic pain. I explained what darkness is, first. Darkness is not actually a thing, but rather a nothingness. It is what inevitably happens when there is an absence of light. Light, actually has a substance to it though possibly not mathematically measurable, but substance, nonetheless. When light is introduced into a dark space (space meaning an area where there is no light), then darkness is no longer there. Light takes up the space. We then compared it to the emotions that she experiences due to the trauma and how at times they feel dark and empty. I suggested to her that it may be that those "spaces" in her that have darkness and emptiness need to be filled up with something that is light. Something with substance, as light will dispel the darkness. We came up with a list (while doing art therapy) of things that are "light" to her. Light had to be defined as something (people, activities, etc.) that bring her joy and light. We talked about how light makes her feel. What does it feel like when you are frightened in the dark and a candle is lit, or a light is turned on? What does it feel like emotionally and physically? It is important to incorporate all senses. I am finding more and more that incorporating "light" (not just physical) into therapy is helpful as many depressed, anxious, and traumatized individual have a hard time experiencing light.


Anonymous said...

In my observations I find in most cases it isn't overly difficult to help one to find those things that bring light in to their lives. Everyone seems to have some source of happiness that they can easily recognize.
The difficulty is found in keeping that light in the room. When one is used to being in the dark it is easy to seek it out again. While it may bring fear it also still brings that sense of comfort and belonging.
The longer that someone has been in obscurity the more difficult it is to bring them out. I think that bringing them out has to be a gradual enough process that at times they don't realize they are coming out of the darkness. What happens to a person who has been in a dark room for a while and you stick a powerful flashlight in to their eyes? It may be light but the overwhelming amount of it causes panic?....just some thoughts

carolyn law said...

I agree with what you say in your blog. It is also hard for someone to seek out the light when they don't know they are in the dark. Sometimes a person needs someone to take them by the hand and lead them into the light. That doesn't mean they tell them how to do it. It mean that they physically get up and provide the means and ways to get into the light. Sometimes people in the dark don't have the ability to stand and they have been hiding in a corner that their legs are useless. For example, for are therapy to work, someone may have to give you the paper, drawing utensils, desk and place (light and freedom) to be able to express themselves

Lawdawg said...

I just read these comments. Great points to both. Sometimes, it is another person's job to help them find where the light is. It is already present, but there is a tremendous amount of fear that keeps them from standing up and moving towards it. That fear may have to do with fearing it will leave once they have it.