March 18-April 12, 2013 Artist’s reception: March 21, 2013 at 5:00-7:00 pm MSB Gallery | NYU Langone Medical Center 550 First Avenue at 31st Street New York City
For The Brides Of Ed*: An Integrated Approach To Eating Disorders
Art Therapy | EMDR | Prescriptive Art
Presented by Prescriptive Artist Nancy Gershman in collaboration with Psychotherapist Lauren Lazar Stern
The women who work with Pittsburgh-based art psychotherapist Lauren Lazar Stern, MA, ATR-BC, LPC and NYC-based prescriptive artist Nancy Gershman all suffer from a range of eating disorders which numb them from feeling hurt, conflicted or anything at all. There are the over-eaters; the binge or binge-purgers; the restricters; extreme dieters and over-exercisers. Only one thing takes precedence over boyfriends, husbands, jobs, friends, hobbies and studies and that is their primary relationship with “Ed” (their eating disorder). In the exhibit “Brides of Ed*: An Integrated Approach” opening March 18th, Stern and Gershman introduce their pioneering approach, allowing visitors to follow this journey to wellness in detail. The therapeutic goal for each woman is to divorce the eating disorder part of herself and reclaim what she loved before Ed.
Stern’s techniques come first, with expressive arts exercises ranging from Letter to My Body and Inside Outside Container to My Self As An Onion and Life-Size Dolls. The art therapy work is then followed by the tools used during the visual, auditory and tactile processing of EMDR (including scanning light, vibrating tappers and headsets). The final phase of treatment is the creation of the patient’s Healing Dreamscape. Eight of these Dreamscapes by Gershman are on display along with patient testimony, demonstrating how she combs for a patient’s positive self-belief story, creating visualizations of a past or a future with happier outcomes. In fact, these tangible objects of hope also act as surrogate reinforcers in Stern’s absence and a reminder that there is life after Ed. As with her work with the bereaved, Gershman has learned that Dreamscapes which repurpose familiar imagery in surreal juxtapositions can also unlock a patient’s black and white thinking about loss and regrets. “The sensory imagery, symbols, metaphors and narrative elements,” says Gershman, “trigger the brain to retrieve a memory, re-encode it and thus, transform it.” The implication is that while we can’t change the world around these recovering women, prescriptive photomontage can at least change the way they view their world.