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The girl with a hole

The girl with a hole

Dear Fellow Travellers

The girl with a hole

The girl with a holeIn this newsletter, the image you see was created by Saffron (not her real name). Saffron is a client of mine, and she will be writing in this article, too, giving a client’s perspective. In 1996 I wrote an academic essay that included Saffron’s experience as someone with an eating disorder.

It makes me smile to be writing this Newsletter with Saffron. All those years ago, I had a BIG thought that one day I would like to write a book about what happens in Therapy with the client’s stand point as important as the therapist’s view. Saffron is a client who stimulated my hope that writing a book like this could be possible. The seed has germinated and here we have the first tender shoots appearing above ground.

Let’s turn to the image Saffron made. What does the image mean to me as a creative therapist? It reminds me of last month’s newsletter Healing of old Wounds. What is this wound that Saffron has at the centre of her being? I look forward to hearing what Saffron has to say.

I will begin by describing the image. I notice the strong legs stand out rather than the hole. The legs, perhaps of a 2 or 3 year old judging by her body proportions, are tentatively moving forward. But where are her arms? They seem to be part of the ray around her head. Her mouth is pink, her unfocussed eyes large and her brows slightly expectant?

There is so much complexity here: the linking up of the present with the long past, encapsulated in time by this image. Perhaps, for simplicity’s sake we can stay with the theme of eating disorders. Over to you Saffron.

When I was around 6 or 7 I had a tiny tears doll. She was very fashionable at the time and was quite simply the love of my life! But, sometimes when I was alone I rocked her back and forth in my arms, held closely in a blanket and I would be consumed by a feeling of utter sadness because I couldn’t love her enough. As I look at this self-portrait now, I’m filled again with this feeling. It’s as though the girl in the picture is my tiny tears and I want to love her better but I don’t always have enough love to give.

The hole is the most important part of the picture. I’ve known that hole from a very early age. Indeed, looking back at how I felt rocking my doll as a child I’m sure that this “hole” is the reason I felt so sad.

The girl in the picture looks very flimsy like she could float off up into the sky and nobody would notice she had gone. This is how the hole makes me feel. Often I feel insubstantial and lost. One of the ways I cope with this is to eat more than my body needs but not as much as the “hole” would like! It gives me a short-lived sense of being grounded. It makes me feel like I have some substance and temporarily eases the pain.

Learning to accept the girl with the hole has been central to my journey. Some days I still feel like a 6 year old girl who is overwhelmed by how much love is needed but I am learning to accept my self. I can accept that although eating too much food to ease the inner emptiness isn’t the best thing to do, sometimes it’s the best that I can do at the time.

Thank you, Saffron. We have begun a dialogue. The inner emptiness. This newsletter is about the connecting-space. We’ll speak again.

Kind regards from Kate and Saffron

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Author: Kate • Filed under: Therapy Matters • Posted: November 1, 2006 6:57 pm

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