Symbols is a box of 100 evocative images that work as poems for the soul. A symbol is a metaphor–something that means something else. Metaphors and symbols work as short cuts–cosmic ‘worm holes’ to understanding and feelings. Symbols is a set of simple, free-hand line drawings of everyday objects that can suggest layers of meaning to the observer.
Therapists who work with those struggling with grief and loss suggested this particular set of symbols. They have resonance with people grappling with the big questions in life. 100 laminated, full-colour cards 105mm x 105mm. Full colour tin, 48 page booklet.
From prehistoric times onwards, story, meaning, tradition, cultural laws and spirituality have all been expressed via symbols. The use of symbols is universal and embraces all aspect of our lives. Some symbols are personal, some are relevant to particular cultures, and some have been codified into signs and maps that transcend specific cultures.
Symbols can alert us to issues of safety. They can represent our allegiance to our tribes and groups. They can express our search for purpose and fulfillment. They can also be potent therapeutic tools by providing shortcuts to our feelings and the meaning we give our experiences.
However, neither social work nor other helping professions such as counselling and psychology have rich traditions of using visual imagery in their practice repertoires. Arguably, of all the professions it is early childhood education that has the best track record for the use of pictures, drawings, stickers, play dough, colourful educational toys and objects in its conversation-building activities.
For quite some time Innovative Resources considered producing a ‘Box of Surprises’ that would house a number of items, including a small set of hand-painted cards featuring symbols. However, a meeting with Linda Espie (a grief and bereavement counsellor) led to our decision to collaboratively develop a therapeutic tool based solely on visual symbols.
Illustrator and graphic artist Bradley Welsh, together with his colleague Tim Lane, created the simple, loose, hand-drawn images for this set of 100 cards. Simply called Symbols, this tool is due for release in February 2007.
While this set of cards has its origins in grief and loss counselling, the possible applications are endless. Because symbols have the power to speak directly to our sense of identity, they can be used to illuminate almost any situation. Teachers, counsellors, therapists, social workers, workshop facilitators and team-builders will be among those to find their own creative uses for this set of cards.
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