Kai has been an artist for as long as they can remember. Born and raised in Santa Rosa, California, they were highly influenced by the diversity of the area and the ecosystem that fostered it all. In school the arts are what kept them going. In their youth they participated in visual and performing arts in their community. After struggling with mental health issues and addiction, Kai continued to seek out learning opportunities around creativity and wellness, eventually making their way to the field of art therapy.
Kai has had the opportunity to complete their clinical work with children and adolescents in shelter and school-based settings. These environments and experiences have fostered their creativity and have allowed them to remain playful and curious in their creative process and professional evolution.
Kai embraces a bottom-up approach which fosters process based creativity as opposed to product based. As a yoga practitioner this approach brings mindful moments into the artistic process.
In the process of creating these pieces I was reflecting on how the overlapping forces of family, religion, education and society impacted my identity development and childhood. In working with youth I was daily reminded of the dysfunction that permeates through most systems and the larger web of forces that impact and influence the lives of these youth. We are invited into the lives of youth and their families at a vulnerable time, and while we aren’t a part of the system we can be affected by it.
My family found their way into the therapeutic space in my mind as the patterns reflected in my caseload painted familiar pictures. Countertransference rearing its shadowy head made me protective and at times defensive, but it brought me to stories that needed to be unpacked and lessons that needed to be learned.
I was reminded of feeling helpless as a child, of the feeling of not being seen or able to take up space. Without the language to describe my identity or a safe place to explore it I brought these lessons into my current state. I’ve learned to hold space for my own evolution just as I hold that space for others.
I am having to hold space for kids who can’t get their needs met and don’t have access to resources needed. I am holding space for kids to be kids, and part of that is reminding them how to play. As kids we long to grow up, as we age we wish for the wonder and innocence of childhood. Whether in our evolution or our healing we always occupy a liminal space.
Liminality; no longer and not yet fully. Childhood to adulthood, life to death, the known within the unknown. Neither here nor there, our bodies are constantly in between spaces and states of being. So, how do we hold space for our own evolution?