The true art form is
being a human being.
I am frequently awed by the way in which each person I encounter is a unique expression of being human, as unique as their fingerprints are. Even identical twins are never completely the same. Everyone shares the human condition and yet expresses it in a completely new and unrepeatable way.
I reflect on this often in my psychotherapy practice. All people share a basic human experience and yet each has a completely creative way of consciously and unconsciously adapting, surviving, thriving, developing, responding and reacting to their life circumstances. The combination of nature and nurture is powerful and sculpts the artistic creation that is each life.
In therapy (as in life), each person has a completely unique way of facing, overcoming and healing from wounds and trauma or simply the general vicissitudes of life. Depression, anxiety, fear, sadness, loss are faced and confronted in a way that is unique to each individual, finding within themselves different symbols or metaphors that assist in that process. Some people are more resilient than others, some find the courage and strength to change and some do not.
Works of art are not always what we might consider aesthetically beautiful- in fact some of the most powerful music is atonal, some of the most moving art is dark or stormy, some of the most evocative dance is wild and fierce. These are apt metaphors for the mysterious and numinous creativity that is each human life.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley