Saturday, July 08, 2006

Soul Collage

Today I took a class from Suzie Wolfer, LCSW, based upon the methods outlined in the book SoulCollage. I have seen/leafed through the book before, but never paid much mind to it. It reminds me, in theory, of the personal tarot cards that some people put together. In practice, the collage-making was a little more introspective and linked to journaling. You know that art journaling is my thing, and I found a lot of pleasant connections in this collage/journaling technique. The methods used in "reading" the soul collage cards really seemed to cut right to the heart, which supported the utility of this as a therapeutic art-making tool.

The class was a fairly large group (15 women) but the facilitation was conductive to a group this size, and everything went very smoothly. Suzie uses the Soul Collage in her individual therapy practice and in organizations in the local community. She's teaching (an unrelated class) at Art & Soul here in Portland, but teaches the Soul Collage workshops frequently at First Impression Rubber Stamp store also here in town. She's intuitive and comfortable/comforting, but doesn't over-therapeutize the class- a great blend of support and guidance for this kind of atmosphere.

I am pretty jazzed about this offering because it is closely aligned with what I want to bring to the community (world!) as a tool for healing and growth. It was also wonderful to connect with other women who are exploring their places in this world, have similar struggles, are explorers for truth and identity. I would absolutely recommend this course and instructor to anyone who has the opportunity to join in one of the workshops. Handouts were professional and useful, and the class time was very well structured and organized. (Suzie mentioned that she is setting up regular gatherings to explore Soul Collage in her SE Portland office, sounds like a great opportunity.)

Here is one of the cards I did in class, and the (loosely) guided writing assignment that went along with it. I dictated as a partner recorded the following:

"The Searcher"

I am the One who is seeking out my journey. I am the One who is curious about my past, going back centuries, and carries that history with me. I am the One who looks on the horizon and sees no boundaries; everything is still open to me. I am the One who has much left to learn. I can approach my future calmly; there is no rush. I am the One who has much to learn from children, and who wants to stay connected to my son. I am the One who wants to look at things without assigning expectations and making assumptions about how they should turn out. I am the One who is open to opportunities. I am the One who looks outside expected, and considers what appears beyond assigned boundaries.


  1. nice. using collage in that way appeals to me, but i've always worried that soul collage & its teachers are usually more woo-woo than i feel comfortable with. it's a fine line between supportive & spiritual. so to hear that it was professional, useful, structured makes me feel more hopeful about going someday.

    where was the class held? and i thought first impression was closed now, but the pages you link to indicate it has now become "a community of artists"?

  2. The workshop reminded me of your process, and the instructor is also reading Artist's Way. I mentioned your group during the class and also sent the link to the teacher. Her office is close to us, at 122 and Foster.

    I'd never been to First Impressions, and don't know about where it's "housed" now. She mentioned the owner's retirement during the class. But upon consulting her schedule, I see that Suzie has classes scheduled there through August. (Looking closer, it looks like maybe there were on the First Impressions schedule and are actually happening at her studio.)

    Maybe this has the power to become very spiritual/tarot-like/woowoo? But the basics of the class that we learned today were very intuitive, developing self-expression. The teacher is interested in Chakras and some other spiritual things, but that area is not something I've explored in the past so I can't really comment on how it feels for me. I am going out to get the book and may also consider the Facilitator training. I was thinking it might be a good match for you, sense it is similar to what you already do, potentially another way to market yourself, and to be a trained facilitator within a network without needing a degree in art therapy. The facilitation (although it appears many who have done it are licensed therapists) calls for mostly therapy-free reflection. (Rules about not making suggestions/assumptions about people's work and such, but opportunities for reflection/questions that people can answer for themselves.)

  3. Oh-forgot to mention, this class was through PCC, at the Sylvania campus. But her normal classes are here in Outer SE.

  4. Howdy Melanie! It was so nice to meet you!!! Good write up about the SoulCollage workshop! Inspires me to finish my second card and post them. I admire your courage to post the reading transcript of The Searcher. I know it was from your heart.

    I bought the SoulCollage book and as I read through it last night, I realized that had I NOT gone to Suzie's class, I probably would have been turned off by this. It has the potential to be all that touchy, feely mumbo jumbo. But the class did NOT make me feel that way. Suzie was an exceptional facilitator. She taught that SoulCollage is a tool to appreciate and celebrate who we are, what we've done, and where we're going! To trust ourselves. SoulCollage is basically a means of objectively ARTICULATING these things. At least that's my spin on it! :-)

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