Body of Work

Author(s) : Hayley Berman

Body of Work

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Body of Work is a visual monograph of Lefika La Phodiso/The Art Therapy Centre's Founding Director Dr Hayley Berman's work.

Both the form and the content of this monograph of Hayley Berman’s work (1989-2015), embody a process of home-coming born out of the realisation that one’s true home is always inside oneself. Simultaneously tracing and mapping, Body of Work is a visual tapestry woven from vivid threads, both material and non-material, of Hayley’s professional as well as personal life.

Contemporary psychoanalyst and theorist Christopher Bollas has profoundly enriched her understanding of what happens when people encounter their objects – in his dictionary of ideas, objects standing for the endlessly variegated context of external reality. Bollas emphasises both the creativity of subjectivity itself and the key place of experience in the formation of psychical constructions and fantasy.

It needs to be noted: that in the process of making this book the creators have drawn upon, and frequently appropriated Bollas’s wonderful world of objects. On thinking we understood them, we have realised that we haven’t and then we might have…and in the end we have followed our instincts, free associated, messed around, muddled up and simply played with his words and his ideas. [With apologies to Christopher Bollas]

Through Hayley’s unique idiom she has endowed her objects with meanings which have facilitated not only opportunities for her own Self’s expression and growth, but also created aliveness for the Other. As part of her personal struggle for healing, identity and recognition, Hayley has developed an adapted model of art therapy in South Africa – Community Art Counselling. Alongside her growth and development so did community art counselling and later its home Lefika La Phodiso (The Art Therapy Centre) tread its own path, establishing its identity and becoming recognised as a place, a rock, of holding and healing.

Hayley’s PhD entitled Community Art Counselling: liberating the life force in a traumatized South Africa documents the interwoven pathways of both the broader state, South Africa; art therapy as a therapeutic modality and its relationship with psychoanalytic thinking; with the dire need for the healing and the holding of its traumatised citizens.

Body of Work is a distillation from Hayley’s life’s work. It is the first book in Lefika’s The Working Body of Knowledge Series and serves as a model of practice. It is a visual document, partly of hope and how despite a turbulent history, there is always an opportunity for reconstruction, regeneration, transformation and an aesthetic, vital capacity to be in the world.

About the Author(s)

Dr Hayley Berman is a practicing artist and Psychoanalytic Art Psychotherapist living and working in South Africa. She trained first as a Fine Artist at University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, completed her Art Therapy training at St Albans and since completed her PhD in Psycho-Social Studies at The University of Western England, Bristol. She is the Founding Executive Director of Lefika La Phodiso/The Art Therapy Centre, an NPO based at the Children's Memorial Institute. Lefika’s core work is to increase mental health resources in South Africa. Hayley has developed a Psychoanalytic Community Art Counselling training for community workers. She is affiliated to the Institute of Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, the South African Psychoanalytic Confederation. She has exhibited her work in South Africa, and presented at several local and International Conferences and internationally published. She is a registered member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa and of the British Association of Art Therapists.

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