If you’ve experienced an event that felt life-threatening to you, or some sort of ongoing stressor that has overwhelmed you, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to ‘just get over it’ without help. Please don’t think you’re stuck because you haven’t tried hard enough to heal. It’s more likely that you just haven’t had the right tools to help you get there.

You don’t ‘just get over it’.

Gentle guided movements allow the body to shift out of an immobile and/or hyperaroused state in a supported way. The nervous system and the brain’s alarm system will then be able to see that the traumatic event is over, and you will recognise that you are safe and you have survived.

”The body remembers. It remembers its injuries and traumas, but it also remembers its needs, its instinct to survive and to heal”

Cornelia Elbrecht & Liz Antcliff

Guided drawing provides this opportunity, allowing you to witness your story and make it visible without being overwhelmed in the process. In doing this you are able to awaken from the nightmare and your world will come out of contraction.

Completing a traumatic experience(s) in the body takes courage but the reward is that you’ll be freeing your mind and body from the past and taking back your life.

Guided Drawing is a key technique in Initiatic Art Therapy, the aim of which is to discover the messages of your inner movements of destruction or creation.

Guided Drawing represents a key approach of Initiatic Art Therapy. It applies the philosophy of Jungian Depth Psychology to universal formal elements that appear in virtually all drawings, for example lines, circles and squares. The process provides opportunity to express strong emotions safely in a non-verbal way. This is the heart of safe and effective treatment for trauma.

Initiatic Art Therapy has the potential to initiate an inner process that unfolds like a mystical quest towards healing, creativity and meaning. It was developed in Germany and incorporates elements of Jungian Depth Psychology, Transpersonal Psychology, Gestalt Therapy, Christian Mysticism, Zen-Buddhism, meditation and bodywork. The name “initiatic” is derived from the term initiation, the awakening of inner perception.

But I Can’t Draw! 

Guided Drawing is not concerned with the image-making process. Instead it supports the awareness of body memories and provides access to solutions embedded in the body’s felt sense. The drawing is guided by implicit sensorimotor memories that were left incomplete in the wake of a traumatic experience.

Imagine you learned to swim as a child but hadn’t been in the water for decades. Now imagine someone suddenly pushed you in the deep end of the pool. Chances are you would still remember how to swim. This ability is stored in implicit memory – a type of memory where earlier experiences aid in the performance of a task without conscious awareness. We don’t forget how to tie our shoes or ride a bike or find our way to a friend’s place on the other side of the city.

These are the same type of memories that assist us in finding an active response to incomplete traumatic experiences. Our body remembers, and Guided Drawing allows us to find completion and rewrite our story in a more authentic and alive way.

Case example:

A four year old Turkish boy had been run over by a truck and immobilised in hospital for six months. He had no language in common with his carers, he was isolated, withdrawn and could not communicate. Cornelia, my trainer and one of the founders of Guided Drawing, managed to encourage him to draw.

He  produced 64 drawings in two days. As she looked at the scribbles he had done in sequence, she saw that he had drawn the elements of the terrible accident he experienced. His markings showed the wheels of the truck and eventually himself under it.

As he reproduced his experience on paper, he visibly changed as something was resolved and completed. He eventually lost interest in his drawings and began to make model airplanes. He had used the process of Guided Drawing to resolve a trauma he could not express verbally and, in doing this, was able to complete his healing.


If you would like to learn more about this approach, contact me to discuss how we might work together, either in person or via Skype.