Mari Andrew, Donald Winnicott, and How We Artfully Mend

 Permission to post  @bymariandrew

Permission to post @bymariandrew

It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.
— D.W. Winnicott, Playing and Reality

Mari Andrew shares words and illustrations that resonate to many. Her relatable messages are so resounding I had heard mention of Mari with the endorsement that her work offers snapshots of sentiments, sensibilities, and sharing of experience that could be helpful during heartbreak and on the path of healing. When I looked at her @bymariandrew page on Instagram I too felt how her simple doodles slip right in, stirring the spirit, soothing the heart, and providing affirming often funny fresh perspectives. On her website she candidly shares she began drawing during a difficult time because she "[...] needed a new fun form of self-expression."

This need, not necessarily to draw rather to creatively express with freedom for fun...play...is something we all share. It is crucial for our development and key to mental health and healing traumas and hurts. Clinician and influential theorist in the field of psychology, Donald Winnicott, said “Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” He also poignantly proclaimed, “It is a joy to be hidden, and disaster not to be found.” 

Working as a pediatrician and psychoanalyst with children Winnicott saw how creativity is crucial to our development, and, how accessing it has everything to do with ones faith and security in being found. That is to say, when a child experiences what Winnicott has called living "in a circle of love and strength" there is the security and space to explore, express, tryout, change, be a witness, and be witnessed. 

A depth, analytic, or psychodynamic approach to therapy understands that the relationship between the clinician and client can become like that circle of love and strength Winnicott speaks of. Room for authentic, playful, generative, finding, sharing, and discovery happens. Healing happens. There is recognition that as terrifying as it is to be seen it is by far more agonizing going unseen.

When we find truly fun (meaning genuinely enjoy), truly safe (meaning overtime trust has been established), relationships and/or activities where we can truly feel (meaning laugh with love and weep with sorrow as well as hangout in a range of whatever emotions arise) we are also found. We are given opportunity to heal, strengthen, and continue our self discovery and emotional development. I thank Mari Andrew for her courage of showing and telling and encouraging and supporting others in her messages. I believe creativity is a relational process of connecting to oneself and to an-other, and it shows us that we are, each and because of others, artists. 

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
— Pablo Picasso