residencies at Princess Royal Hospital
The drawings shown here were created at RS POP UK* Extreme States Seminars at Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath, East Sussex. 'Extreme states' is a non-pathologising term for emotions and behaviours that are considered extreme, relative to collective ideas of what is normal. The seminars, held once or twice yearly through the 90s, created a temporary community of equality, of patients, users of mental health services, friends and families, psychiatric professionals, process-oriented psychologists and students. They were facilitated by process workers Jean-Claude and Arlene Audergon, who worked individually with people in extreme states, witnessed and supported by the whole group.
As artist-in-residence at these events, I witnessed and honoured the life stories of the participants and the experience of the whole group. I offered a model of working creatively with intense emotion by drawing throughout the proceedings. I tried to let go and follow my impulses and was frequently puzzled by what emerged, but it often resonated for the participants. Beautiful images could appear out of extreme suffering, reflecting the possibility of change and honouring the beauty in everyone whatever their experience.
I also drew at process work seminars for people with serious physical illness, and also on leadership, sexuality, coma, and training seminars.
*RS POP UK (Research Society for Process Oriented Psychology)
Process Oriented Psychology, developed by Dr Arnold Mindell and his colleagues, is a cross-disciplinary approach to individual and collective change. With roots in Jungian psychotherapy, Taoism, shamanism and quantum physics - Process Work discovers potential patterns for change within the experiences that disturb us.
All drawings: pastel and charcoal on paper, approximately 70cm square