A student is one who learns. We often assume that a therapist’s role is to advise, teach, and guide; but the true therapist identity is that of one who strives to listen and learn above all else. This art reflects my experience as an art-therapist-learner making art with unhoused and precariously housed persons in a micro-village transitional living community shelter. Each work progresses from the disorientation of having my confidence stripped amidst the tangled web of systems facing unhoused communities––to the recognition of my own biases and blindspots––ultimately resting in the radical willingness to make mistakes and learn from the wisdom of the people and places surrounding my work.
Dismay echoes my interior experience of imposter syndrome and the sense of being woefully unprepared and unworthy to do the work that had been set before me; it served as a pivotal moment in my journey. Launching from this point, Holding Spaces and Security by Community explore the diverse needs and spaces to be held in this unique type of group work; and highlight the unsung value of cultivating the materials, persons, and resources at hand, exactly as they are. Holding Spaces was co-created with shelter residents and Security by Community is framed by the physical fragments of what formerly occupied the shelter site. Both pieces honor a process of transformation from what once was to something… new.