Interactive Drawing Therapy


“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
- Aristotle

A few days ago I came across one of the most shocking (excuse the pun) articles I have read for a while. The article outlined a study (Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind, Wilson et al, Science 4 July 2014: Vol. 345 no. 6192 pp. 75-77). The short version is that many people (68% of males and 25% of females, who participated the study) would rather give themselves an electric shock with a 9-volt battery than sit inactive, with their own thoughts for 15 minutes.

While there was a lot of selection bias in the study, it is still very telling. Preferring self-harm rather than sitting with ones own thoughts means that there is a real and serious fear of introspection. This would indicate to me that there is an awareness of a problem but that we are unable to deal with it so ‘sweeping it under the rug’ is the preferred option. However, as professionals who work with such things we know that this provides only temporary relief and ultimately can lead to much more serious issues.

The modern world is a hectic place and we are constantly stimulated by external stimuli. Often it’s only when you go somewhere really silent, and ‘off the grid’ that we realize how much is going on around us. I guess this may be partially why people are now averse to introspection. When we are overwhelmed by the outside world the inside one is just too daunting.

New Zealand has a disconcertingly high suicide rate and an increasing rate of violence and bullying in our youth, especially in young males. Our “she’ll be right, mate’ approach helps us not worry about small things but it can easily be taken too far.

I remember once seeing a friend of mine’s son fall over and hurt himself while playing. My immediate reaction was, after checking that he was not seriously injured, to tell the boy that he was ok, and that he didn’t need to cry. It was not that it wasn’t manly it was just that there was no point. However my friend immediately went over and consoled the boy, telling him that it was ok to be upset at being frightened by the shock of the fall and telling him to let it out. As a result the boy quickly processed the shock, recovered and went on playing.

I have never considered myself particularly ‘blokey’ but this event made me readdress my views on manhood and how they may be detrimental. As I get older I have found that the friends I grew up with are becoming more and more open about our weaknesses and concerns around them. One of them, ‘John’, has written a blog about his struggle with depression and I highly recommend giving it a read.
On the outside John is about as much of a bloke as you can get. A heavy diesel mechanic on large ships, he enjoys working with cars in his spare time and just bought himself a brand new ute. However this obviously does not preclude him from mental health issues and a few years ago he found he had serious anxiety issues. He still struggles with it but by becoming aware of the issue and learning how to deal with it he has developed some of the best introspection of anyone I’ve met and it makes him a much stronger person (and a better bloke) for it.

A lack of introspection can mean that one is not aware of projection or, somewhat ironically, of self-rationalising narcissism. It can also be a dangerous habit and allow for small things to become big things. It means that by the time many people seek help things have gotten out of control, or when they do they find it hard to understand themselves and what they are going through.

IDT works well to circumvent this potential lack of conscious introspection by working with metaphor and imagery, thereby allowing the client to process things at a much deeper level than they would other ways be able to. This is also one of the reasons that IDT is so effective with cultures where 'face' or other cultural issues such as the bloke mentality may be an issue. The IDT method of working with pages is inherently and safely self-reflective – both within a working session and any follow-up ‘home-work’. This said it does not require a high level of conscious introspection prior to, or even during a session, making it ideal for less self effacing people, who may be concerned about face.

We are looking for keen IDT’ers who may be interested in conducting research into IDT, sign up for our IDT Supervisor database and register their IDT Peer Support groups. If you’re interested in registering or enquiring about any of these then please contact us at

Kind Regards,

Kelly Withers  |  General Manager
Interactive Drawing Therapy Limited


Might IDT consider doing short half days or one day workshops so that there is less time taken off work?
The training days for all IDT courses are from 8:30am to 5pm each day. The courses are packed with information and experiential exercises, and experience has shown it is not suitable to minimise or shorten the workshops.
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