"It's like a fish tank full of dirty water," was the image that came to mind to one of the participants in the synergetic art therapy method classes led by Olga Caplin
, at her
Carmel Valley psychiatry practice off High Bluff Drive.
Common problems addressed in Caplin's
90-minute group sessions include dissatisfaction, poor motivation, procrastination, lack of joy, loneliness, relationships lacking intimacy and loss of creativity and inspiration.
"We learn to express our feelings through images, like adults who have come back to childhood," Caplin
The classes are neither a chat nor a slow walk toward self-expression.They are fast-paced, each combining three art forms: watercolor, acrylic or oil painting, meditative moments and improvisation theater.The goal is to teach the brain to switch productively from one task to another.Caplin is a mediator.She
might show the technique of acrylic painting and ask the group to paint a tree.Someone's tree may be in full blossom while another's consist of just branches.Later, when they analyze the paintings, it may turn out the first person is engaged to be married, while the second person feels something is missing in her
The biggest concern people have is that they are going to be required to share their inner feelings or intimate problems.Not so, Caplin
said.The classes teach people to express themselves in images, she
may get that person involved in a play-acting fight scene.
"We all work together," Caplin
...Caplin, being an artist herself, has a very interesting guidance.I
learned to assert myself more as an artist, to find a peace after a loss."Caplin is an associate at Coastal Psychiatric Medical Associates, a professional medical corporation located in Carmel Valley.That's a long way from the town of Blagoveshchensk in Siberia, next to the Chinese border, where she was born.Caplin
attended both a school of arts, where she
studied painting, and a regular high school there.Later, she
went to medical school.After graduation, she
studied in the Physician Advanced Training Academy at Moscow
.After immigrating to America, Caplin became a resident psychiatrist in the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
thought a lot about the fact that there are a lot of events in our life, a lot of actions that we don't accept which, like an open wound, continually eat our self-esteem, our joy of life," Caplin
said."If we can bring these events to the artwork, we start to fully accept ourselves."
Together with a colleague in Moscow, Caplin
developed the synergetic art therapy method.Initially intended as a 2 1/2year course of study, Caplin
shortened the program to 12 sessions for the High Bluff crowd.She
is trying the 12-week course with six classes.