Friday, April 23, 2010

Empathy Directive: A Time I Felt Loved

In order to help the sex offenders get more in touch with their feelings, I would ask them to create an image about their feelings. The theory being that these patients need to be able to identify their own feelings before we can expect them to feel for others. In one Art Therapy session, I asked the group to portray a time they felt loved. One patient painted some flowers to represent his sister who had loved him despite his crimes. Several weeks later he reported to the group that this directive motivated him to try to make amends with his sisters and improve his relationship with them. With empathy, it's good when the offender can feel for another, and it's even better when their empathy enables them to have positive behavior or actions. So, in this instance, the patient felt for his sisters who had gone through a lot due to his sex offenses, and he was able to try to talk to them about the impact of his offenses on them.