Unleash your Creativity
Published: Flamingo Magazine June 2005
Swakopmund has a great many things on offer for tourists and locals alike. Paragliding, quad biking, camel rides and boat cruises are just a few things on offer for the adventurous spirit. But, if none of the physical, outdoor activities appeal to you, or you have done it all before and would like to experience something new: Silke Berens’ art therapy workshop might just be the right address.
This is an adventure of a different kind, but just as stimulating and fulfilling as any of the other activities on offer. “The term ‘art therapy’ might be a bit misleading to some, since it is not so much about either painting beautiful pictures or getting real textbook-like therapy. It is more about exploring the self and letting out the inner child.” says Silke Berens who is a dedicated Nambian art teacher and artist and has started these workshops in 2004. “These workshops are a creative way to explore your subconscious thoughts, dreams and fears. They offer an ideal opportunity to escape your normal routine, stress and rational thought patterns and bring you to new insights. You just follow your intuition and most of all enjoy the experience.”
The goal of art therapy is not to produce beautiful art, it is to help people to feel good about themselves, help them communicate with others and help them take charge of their lives responsibly. Art therapy makes use of the fact that creativity in itself can be rewarding. In doing creative work, we externalise our thoughts and emotions, making them more clear to ourselves and others. More importantly, creativity produces feelings of accomplishment. This enhances self-esteem and independence.
Immersing yourself into a few hours of playing with paint, colours and clay, is like taking your soul on a well-deserved picnic in a beautiful setting. Silke Berens skilfully leads you on this journey and before you know it you have left behind all inhibitions, fears and worries. Steadily you reach an inner awareness of your subconscious, tune in to your dreams and remember parts of yourself, which you have forgotten.
During these hours there is no right and wrong, no rules or constraints, just the gentle guidance of Silke Berens. While she chooses the route of the journey, participants choose their experience of it. One can explore emotions, values, fantasies, past experiences or just enjoy freeing your inner child. Although the workshops are loosely structured around certain themes, like “Archetypes” or ‘Who am I?”, it depends on each individual how far and in which way they chose to explore these themes. Nobody needs to reveal any secrets or share anything they do not want to with the rest of the group.
Sonja Wahlers, a regular workshop participant says: “I am enjoying sharing a creative space with people of various ages and walks of life. It is usually spontaneous, sometimes sensitive, always interesting and it gives my imagination a tank full of aviation fuel. Silke has gone to great lengths to find the right space and to present the workshop in such a way, that one feels comfortable, free and secure at the same time. Her warm open approach to people and to the art media is both inviting and inspiring.”
Not only individuals can profit from these creative workshops. Silke Berens also offers tailor-made corporate programs as an alternative to traditional team building experiences. While the workshops still cultivate team building and goal setting, they also foster ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, stimulate creativity, prompt new progressive ideas and encourage conflict resolution. Creative art making levels the “playing field” so everybody in a company can participate on an equal base and new and dynamic energies can come to the foreground. The expressive arts are an ideal means for freely expressing thoughts, ideas and feelings related to the work environment.
Human Resource Manager of the Manica Group in Walvis Bay, Ms Trudie van Rooyen, took her department on such a corporate workshop. She felt that it was beneficial for the employees and it encouraged a better understanding between colleagues. She says: “It was a real eye-opener for all of us. Although our group spends every day working together, the workshop made us see each other in a different light. Everybody felt comfortable to express themselves on paper. We shared emotions and picked up characteristics about each other, and ourselves, which we would otherwise never have recognized. None of us have ever done art before, but we immediately felt very secure and happy to play with the materials provided. It is interesting how well you explain yourself on a piece of paper if you do not need to use words.”
Herein lies the principal advantage of these workshops. Symbols, colours and mark making often say more than words can. Everybody can understand them on an intuitive and emotional level. In our world, structured according to strict, rational and compartmentalised concepts and rules, we often loose focus of the bigger picture, the subtleties and the essence of life. Silke Berens brings us back in touch with these essential survival skills.
Next time you have nothing planned for the weekend in Swakopmund, be sure to experience this enlightening and up-lifting adventure for the soul. On demand these popular workshops can also be offered in Windhoek or elsewhere in the country. For more information please contact Silke Berens at (+264) 81 1292106.
(c) Imke Rust