On Friday I had a catch up with these lovely ladies (with me in the pic) who are very special to me. Boy, have we shared some adventures when we studied art therapy with one another. They represent something different now compared to the time we spent together in class.
We have been meeting regularly since our graduation and supported one another through our development of becoming fully fledged art therapists. While we could be seen as competition to one another it has been the complete opposite. It would be easy to keep all the things we have been doing close to our chest in fear that someone might encroach in on our territory. But we share new materials, nut through feelings of insecurity, talk about different approaches, share resources, demonstrate process and most importantly are a sounding board for one another. It is so critical that we have a safe place where we know that there will be an understanding ear, a place not to be perfect and be vulnerable when things have gone a little pear shaped. But also its is a place of learning and celebration – I love that we constantly learn from one another and affirm each other for paving the way, persisting and doing a fabulous job in some very challenging fields. The support from each other makes us better therapists which ultimately helps our clients. I know that after every meeting I feel refreshed and invigorated for what I do and it is really important that we continue to connect.
There are also some other very special people who provide that safe space for me to debrief as they also ‘get it’ and understand the importance of this type of space and community, whether it be at my work or in business. A lot of us are working in an environment where we are a lone ranger and I believe it is vital to have the support of peers or mentors outside of the organisation where you can be open, honest and have an opportunity to learn.
This isn’t just about therapy (although ask any therapist you are going to whether they have supervision – it’s a must) it goes for any profession. There are so many people doing it alone and the isolation can be detrimental as self doubt, disconnection, bad habits, lack of innovation or motivation can creep in. On the other hand having a supportive space (whether it be paid or peer lead) is so important – the investment in time is so valuable as it creates connection, enthusiasm, knowledge, support and passion and that means that you can support your clients more effectively and feel a sense of purpose and meaning in what you do.
Its like the metaphor of a racing car driver – you are in the drivers seat of your own car and you can drive and drive and drive but eventually you need to refuel, clean the windscreen, check the oil and water and maybe even need some new tyres. The pit crew is vital (and more efficient) in keeping the car on the road and helping it get to the finish line in a timely manner!
A massive thanks to my main pit crew…Bindi, Jane, Ky, Cath, Anna, Chris, Jason, Helen, Carly and the Sass Place Community.
I would love to hear what peers, mentors and safe spaces you have to be better at what you do. I also invite you to ponder who is your pit crew.
Til we chat again
Take care of you