SoulCollage – Fall in Love with Yourself!

What is SoulCollage®?

SoulCollage® is a unique blend of spiritual practice and the fun of collage. It was created by Seena Frost in 1980 as she worked with friends and clients in her therapy practice in California.

Each card in a SoulCollage® deck represents and honors one of the following facets of my unique life: a voice that lives inside of me, a person who supports me, an animal that has special energy to give me, or a mythical figure which guides me.

Using very simple materials (scissors, glue, mat board, and magazine images), I create my cards and interpret them using journaling or other activities. I use my deck to help me find answers to the questions that arise in my life, and to access my own deep wisdom.

Falling In Love With Myself

I make cards for all of the voices within me… even the dark, shadowy ones. For example, here are some of the voices I honor with my SoulCollage® deck: the one who loses her temper, the one who weighs too much, the one who is lonely, the one who is impatient.

Of course, I also make cards for my inner voices which bring me light and joy: the one who is a teacher, the one who is nurturing, the one who creates, the carefree child. As I work with this amazing process, I find that I am more and more able to embrace every part of me, even the dark ones. It is in this embracing that I come to wholeness, and it is in this wholeness that I discover I am falling in love with myself, one SoulCollage® card at a time.

Please click here to see some examples of SoulCollage cards.

9 Steps To Your First SoulCollage(TM) Card

The most important thing to remember while you are making SoulCollage® cards is to honor your own process. Please keep in mind that these steps are only guidelines. Feel free to deviate from them at any time and in any way! And don’t forget to have fun!!!

1. Create sacred space by lighting a small candle and/or putting on some soft music that delights your soul.

2. Gather your materials and put them on the table in front of you. You should have the following: a piece of 5″ x 8″ mat board or cardboard, a pair of scissors, an acid-free glue stick or jar of rubber cement, and several magazines.

3. Spend a generous amount of time going through the magazines. Tear out any images that you like, that seem to appeal to you for ANY REASON. Don’t question WHY you might be drawn to the images. Simply rip them out!

4. Spread the images out around you. Gather them into smaller piles, sorting them by colors, energies, themes, or patterns. For instance, you might notice that you have lots of images of stairways, or windows, or birds, or people who are frowning, or….. You might see several images that just seem to go together for some reason. You don’t need to verbalize a reason for grouping some images together.

5. When you have a few different piles sorted by theme, choose one of them.

6. Start playing around with the images that you have chosen. Lay them on top of one another, or beside each other. Arrange and rearrange them until you come to a layout that you like. Trust your intuition. You will know when it looks “right.”

7. Glue the images onto the 5″ x 8″ mat board or cardboard.

8. You have made your first SoulCollage® card!

9. Now it’s time to do the I am the one who… exercise with your card to deepen your experience with it, and to begin to integrate its meaning into your life. Detailed instructions for this part of the process can be found


Dance Therapy For Spinal Injury

Dance your heart out to get rid of the terrible spinal injury!

Surprised? Well, if we are to believe the recent medical report published by the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC), dance therapy is used to cure patients who are suffering from spinal injury. If we look at the global figures, estimated 20,000 spinal operations are carried out in the UK each year, than any other type of operations. The same figure probably applies for operations in the USA. However, even the most successful operation could not promise a complete recovery from back pain. In 10-20% of cases the bone graft fails to unite completely leaving a permanent pseudoarthrosis.

Deepti Aggarwal, head of the lifestyle management department of the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre said, “The benefits of dance therapy – both psychologically and physically has been identified since long. But it is for the first time that it has been introduced in a healthcare centre under strict medical supervision. Needless to say the results have been amazing,” The dance not only did strengthen the muscles but also boosts the morale as well as enhances the patient mood. In case of spinal injury, a person lacks in physical and metal balance, asking to dance in such a situation might seems insensitive. Nevertheless, for such patients doctors have planned to promote wheelchair dance. This may act as a physiotherapy session resulting in gaining increased body movement and confidence level of the patient.

Generally there are two kinds of spinal injuries – paraplegia, affecting lower limbs whereas quadriplegia paralyzes the upper as well as lower limbs of a person. As a first step, the patient learns to propel his wheelchair and move their bodies rhythmically. When synchronized with music, one tends to feel less pain. Dance therapy has better healing affect on you for number of good reasons. It has been reported that things with exercising and physiotherapy sessions tends to become irksome after sometime but music with potentially high level of physical activities helps in boosting the confidence level as well as prolonged body movements.

The dance therapy is followed by other holistic therapies like aromatherapy, yoga, meditation and reflexology etc. undoubtedly this new discovery of doctors are showing excellent improvement among the people who suffers from spinal problems. Inspired by the success, the authorities are planning to introduce the therapy for people with common ailments such as backache soon. Not only in India but doctors from other countries too showing their interest in the dance therapy, reports show that considerable number of professionals who suffers from spinal or backbone related problem are considering this treatment above any other direct medication. Great news isn’t it!

Life at the Movies – The Art of Cinema Therapy

More and more counselors are turning the American past time movies into an effective therapeutic tool. I personally incorporated the use of Cinema Therapy with clients informally more than five years ago. Within the past two years, however, I have begun to use it more consistently as an adjunctive form of service when planning treatment. Movies deal with a range of life issues that are appropriate for all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. In the ongoing debate does life emulate the movies or do movies emulate real life? One thing is clear: Movies address many of our common problems. Some very practical answers and life choices are provided in the 90 to 180 minute reel. Therefore, movies often give clients insight into their own lives.

After seeing Field of Dreams in 1989, If you build it, they will come became my slogan for the year. Those words of inspiration and hope gave me encouragement to step out in faith and accomplish many goals. I am sure I have seen the film over 20 times and every time is like the first. I was flooded with emotion. The list of things I needed to build filled by mind. Sitting in that dark theater, tears streamed down my face as I identified the many things I wanted to do but was afraid to take the risk. I slipped past my friend, stepped into the aisle, rushed to the back of the theater, and cried like a baby. Periodically, I rent the video to remind me to follow my heart, to hear the voice within, and to forge ahead. The movie had an awesome healing effect. As clients connect with various characters, they are able to identify similarities to and differences from their own stories. This is often a great bridge from the reel to the real.

People Are Watching Movies: Cinema is a global phenomenon, seen by millions of people throughout the world. It has a powerful Impact, consciously or unconsciously, on the behavior of people. A 1993 Variety magazine survey reported that world box office receipts totaled $8 billion, and that home video rental is also a lucrative business. Of the top-earning 100 films, 88 were U.S. productions. We go to the movies for different reasons: some for the magic, others for the meaning. Movies can provide entertainment or a temporary escape from our reality. They can be relaxing or exciting, and for many, they have become a way to cope. As therapists and counselors, we can tap into these easily accessible and readily available old_resources.

What Is Cinema Therapy?

Cinema Therapy is the use of movies (current releases or videos) by counselors as a therapeutic tool in the healing process of clients. It is not a discipline requiring specialized training, such as art or music therapy. It should, however, be done by a mental health practitioner skilled at processing a clients cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses. Depending on the client, the concept may be introduced formally or informally at two different points during treatment. The first opportunity comes during the initial assessment when gathering historical data. Most new clients usually indicate behavioral changes (especially in leisure activities). At this time I ask, What do you do for entertainment? Or Do you like movies? This is also a way of establishing rapport with the client. I briefly share my interest in movies, their positive therapeutic value, and that other clients have benefited from the experience. The second opportunity to introduce Cinema Therapy is when the client discusses information that reminds the counselor of a particular film or video. I share some of the similarities in the storyline, viewpoints/mindsets, and suggest that the client view it. Then we plan to discuss his or her reaction at the next session.

Life Is longer Than the Movies: Though the worlds of life and fiction have similarities, they are also very different. Movies often cover a continuum of development from infancy to adulthood. Realizing that movies can cover an entire lifetime in approximately two hours, clients should be cautioned that solutions may take longer to implement than they do to watch. The real world does not always come neatly packaged. We do not know what will finally happen in our own lives. We can, however, become interested in fictional characters, find out what happens to them, and gain insight for our own problem resolution. Clients are usually capable of pointing out how someone else should have handled a situation. They will then go on to explain what they would have done differently. Movies serve as catalysts that stimulate discussion leading to transparency and disclosure.

From the Reel To the Real: When clients view movies they draw comparisons with their real-world knowledge of human behaviors and what seems to be a plausible, likely, or consistent response by a person in a given situation. If a client decides the actors emotions in the film are appropriate and convincing, given the narrative circumstances, he or she may be able to share in the characters emotions by way of empathy. Clients also engage in a complex set of evaluations about the moral and ethical acceptability of a characters screen behavior and sequence of events. As a result of their disclosure, you will be able to determine strengths and weaknesses in how the individual processes information as well as his or her ability to abstract, reason, and gather insights. When a client is viewing a movie for use in Cinema Therapy, there are several categories that may be used as catalysts to get the person thinking about his or her own issues. Five are mentioned here: Listen for one-liners (e.g., There is no place like home Wizard of Oz; You can’t handle the truth A Few Good Men; Make my day Dirty Harry; May the force be with you Star Wars). Look for themes (e.g., confronting your fears, taking revenge, getting a new start in life, extending forgiveness). Observe relational dynamics (e.g., obsessive-compulsive, codependency, poor boundaries). Identify significant issues (abuse, anxiety, marriage, chronic illness). Give each film the Bible test by asking, does the movie demonstrate a violation or application of Scripture?

Assigning Movies as Homework: If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the value of a movie. When movies are assigned as homework, the counselor should have a clear objective. Ask yourself, what do I hope to accomplish with my client through this film? Cinema Therapy is not just watching movies but viewing with a specific purpose. Selected movies should address issues (Figure 1) that clients are facing or be based on their areas of interest (e.g., action, drama, romance, comedy, western, science fiction, fairy-tale, etc.). Counselors should be cautioned that the movie rating system (G General Audience, PG Parental Guidance, PG-13Suitable for adolescents, R Restricted/no one under 18 admitted without pare not or guardian) does not always accurately reflect the content of a movie. Make sure you watch the movie first and advise your client of material that may be objectionable or offensive (e.g., profanity, nudity, graphic violence). Sound judgment should be used. Again, ask yourself, Is the film clinically, spiritually, and age appropriate? Clients may view a first-run movie at a local theater or rent a home video. There are advantages to both venues.

At the theater, they have wide-screen viewing and no intermissions (interruptions). Advantages of home video include the ability to pause and replay certain scenes as well as viewing in the privacy and comfort of home. Whichever venue your clients choose, ask them to complete a Movie Review Sheet (Figure 2). Beyond the obvious, clients may be moved by a variety of subtleties in the film. Be prepared to deal with concepts a client may identify that you did not intend to address. Clients may also view the film and not want to discuss it. No pressure should be applied to make something happen. Documented information from the Movie Review Sheet can be used in a later session. If the client has seen the movie, he or she has been Impacted (positively or negatively). Reality Sets In The Case of Caroline In the practice of Cinema Therapy, I have found that Reality-Based, Rational-Emotive, and Behavioral approaches are most effective. This does not limit the use of other theoretical orientations as preferred by some counselors. Below is a brief synopsis of a case using a reality-based therapeutic intervention in conjunction with Cinema Therapy.

Caroline is a 38-year-old mother of three girls between the ages of 5 and 10. She is recently divorced from a physically, verbally, and spiritually abusive narcissistic, bipolar man. During one of our sessions, Caroline was discussing how her spouse was both impulsive and obsessive. Several things she said reminded me of the film, As Good As It Gets. Prior to sharing the similarities, I asked if she had seen the film and her view on it. To my surprise, she had hated the movie (I have seen it five or six times and recommended it to several other clients). It was a great moment. Caroline became angry as she shared how unrealistic the movie seemed. She was concerned that Helen Hunts character would marry Jack Nicholson’s character because he was charming but that she could forget about his character flaws. Then Helen would end up like Caroline, 10 years later, wondering how she had missed the obvious signs of dysfunction. As a result of domestic violence, Caroline suffers from low self-esteem and severe depression. This was first time she had voiced a strong opinion about anything. We discussed the questions from the Movie Review Sheet right then in session. This opened a door through which we could work more effectively. Caroline was not angry with the movie, but with herself for poor judgment and wrong choices. Because she felt embarrassed and ashamed of her situation, she had withdrawn from others (even those who cared about her well-being).

The film helped Caroline acknowledge that although she had been deeply hurt, she needed to connect with people in order to heal. At the same time, she needed to establish new patterns of relating. She was also challenged to answer the question, What if this is as good as it gets? Caroline began to evaluate her current reality and ask additional questions, such as Who am I? What have I learned from my past experiences that can help me in the present? What do I want from life? What do I want from relationships? Will my present behavior help me accomplish my desired goals? What am I willing to change? Over the course of treatment, Caroline began to accept personal responsibility for her life and to make a plan. She is learning to venture out and trust her new found insights. Find a therapist to get solutions to your problems.

Whereas Cinema Therapy can be used with a wide range of clients, it is not recommended for those with serious psychiatric disorders. Counselors should be aware that watching certain actions in a film may cause clients to relive their pain. Be sensitive. Instead of assigning movies as homework, film clips (5 to 10 minutes) can be viewed in session. Then content can be processed Immediately. Cinema Therapy is an underutilized intervention that I believe will increase in popularity as its application and effectiveness is better understood. Our lives can be viewed as one long movie without an intermission. Consider the storyline of The Truman Show. Meeting a new client is like coming in on the middle of a movie. It sometimes takes a while to figure out what’s going on, even when the client provides flashbacks. Using Cinema Therapy is a way for counselors to engage clients in nonthreatening ways as they share the plots of their stories.