Bottlejarboxcan was the name of an old blog that I kept for awhile. It got its name from my penchant for constantly collecting all kinds of containers, which I use a lot in my own work.
Containers also figure big in art therapy. A lot of importance is placed on the establishment and maintenance of a therapeutic container or frame. Therapists strive to provide a place of containment, a safe space to explore, express, and experience all feelings, a relationship of trust and collaboration. This is an important component of all therapeutic theory, particularly for those working with children or others who become easily overwhelmed by affect because they lack internal controls. An important theoretical concept here is D.W. Winnicott’s holding environment.
In the particular context of art therapy, the artwork itself also acts as a container, something outside of the artist that safely holds and reflects emotions. Sometimes providing a concrete metaphor by supplying an actual container to work with can help a child to feel more safe in expressing difficult feelings.
The possibilities for containers are endless. To bottle, jar, box, and can, add book, frame, nest, teacup, basket, egg carton, or pretty much anything else you can think of. It’s pretty easy to accumulate tons of great containers without spending a cent. Any recycling bin is filled with them.