is a case history of a patient who was treated by Katherine
Manual - Patient ‘A’
a) It took place
due to connections at the Goetheanum, Dornach,
a) The work was
a) The length of
time was one-half hour for the first six months. Later in the six
years of the therapy, the session involved one hour of work, which
included one half hour of speech followed by a break of ten minutes
after which approximately one-half hour of painting ensued. In
response to the therapeutic need painting sometimes began the
lesson, followed by speech.
4. Spatial and
a) The sessions
took place in the house of the patient.
anthroposophical doctor was consulted by telephone. He had long
experience with the patient (at least seven years).
of the Therapist
c) The therapist
was 52 years old
d) She had had
eight years of experience
e) Her trainings
1) London School
of Speech Formation 1991
2) Dora Gutbrod
School (Therapeutic Training 2000)
Painting School 1984 – Graduate Diploma in Colour Therapy
4) The artistic
disciplines were speech and painting in relation to a theme chosen
for, or later by the patient.
of the Patient
conditions: She rents a house with her husband. They are American
and have lived 30 years in Switzerland.
2. Length of
a) Six hundred and
sixty, one hour sessions during a six year time period, with
b) Two times per
week, after six months – one to two week pauses.
3. The patient
decided to begin the therapy; after about eight sessions her doctor
was consulted and in agreement.
4. The patient was
psychologically in a state of deep depression, very weak from lack
of appetite and no enthusiasm was left. She had a history of
schizophrenia for which she began treatment some twenty years
Because of an
electrical treatment for backache, recommended by a friend, she
suffered shocks which were too strong for her constitution, and
‘lost her bearings’, although the back pain did
5. The art therapy
treatments were paid out of the couple’s own funds.
6. Description of
the patient’s complaint: ‘I am not feeling well. I want to lie
down.’ She repeated this complaint quite often, but she could not
explain more about her condition. She was very fearful or
explained that she had been psychologically disturbed for over
forty years. At this time she needed constant
Before her illness
had worsened she liked to play piano and translate
7. Previous art
therapy included speech formation and eurhythmy.
description of the patient:
a) Physical level:
blue eyes, medium height, weak appearance and very stooped and
thin. Sudden weight loss.
b) Sense of Life:
pale, breathed-out, not decisive. Constantly changing her mind
about everyday trivialities.
melancholic and phlegmatic.
d) Movement: no
sense of balance, dizziness, gazed downwards.
e) State of Soul:
very introverted and dependent, almost autistic, flat voice.
Sometimes seems to gurgle the speech on the soft palate, appears
Although before her illness she was sympathetic, uncertain and more
phlegmatic. First she appeared to have lost herself. There was no
warmth, as a minor chord full of doom, dissonance,
A picture of
brown, grey, as if she was screaming with fear inside, like a child
bereft of ‘mother’.
Her personality is
veiled over. But she participates in the therapies. She wants to
follow instructions. Earlier she wanted to ‘be helpful’.
C. Beginning of
1. A biographical
process with colour and poetry in connection with the colour wheel
painted the colour wheel step by step. The 7 year periods were
connected to verses in a vowel mood. The verses and vowel provided
a regenerating structure.
ē verse _ _ _
o verse _ _
ā verse _
ā verse _ ___ _ _
i verse ___ _
u verse ___
u verse ___
ah verse ___ _ _
au verse ___ _ _
The quality of
each gives a colour mood of the age. They are healthy and pure no
matter what the patient actually lived through during those
This first phase
was conducted to give strength to the exhausted life
nimm in Hut
heil es gut
lőst vom Schuld
flut uns zu
hymn to the restoring forces of motherly love’.
2. The patient was
reliving childhood fears at often being left alone. In contrast,
her life work was motherhood and the married life. So, to give her
back her sense of self, the theme of womanhood in its many facets
a) ‘From the
‘To you, O earth
mother, I bow my head
And through the
fragrant veil of your being
I sense the flame
of your heart
And its universal
The midday sun
sends its piercing blessing
Of scorching rays
down from its radiant dome.
And in this quiet
splendour the sound
rivers and joyous forest voices gushes forth
And in the bright
glow of flaming love
scatter like dust.’
b) With this poem
the patient painted a nature scene with a waterfall evolving out of
blue and yellow. It was gradually enhanced to green and orange. The
polarity was at first diagonal as experience and then above and
below in a mood where man and woman were painted in a place where
they would be comfortable as human beings.
3. The following
poems were done together for the same theme.
To The Earth
Universal Mother who dost keep
from everlasting thy foundations
Eldest of all things, great
sing of thee’
P B Shelley – translation of Homer
‘Sacred goddess, Mother
Thou from whose immortal
Gods and men and beast have
Leaf and blade and bud and
Breathe thine influence most
thine old child Proserpine’
Hither’ and later ‘No Coward Soul am I’ by E Bronte.
These poems had a
connection to Nature. ‘Andromeda’ by Kingsley was also done in
hexameter. This is a poem to disperse fear.
The patient was
able to identify with these poems in her life-role as wife-mother.
She was however very withdrawn – although always ready to try
however depressed and frightened.
4. Goethe’s poem
was taken ‘The Metamorphosis of the Plant’. The hexameter verse
allowed the depressed state to be somewhat alleviated by
concentrating on the growth of a plant. All the inner turmoil was
directed to observing and painting the plant.
This was a second
phase in the therapy. The patient was over the initial
Then it was
decided to take themes about which one might say, like
‘All of the forms have a likeness
yet none quite resembles the other
Thus is a hidden law revealed
from a view of the whole’.
The patient chose
the theme ‘Mountains’. We began with a poem written by Arvia
MacKaye-Ege, who was a friend of the couple.
With this theme,
mountain landscapes were painted:
Carve me with your rugged
Give me the power to
with the wide clear land
Will to fight
Through weight of granite
Breaking aloft to rise
With quite carven
Into the crystal heights of
Girdled with glacial
Mantled by silent snow
Grant me the power to
The poet, who
passed over sometime before meant a lot to the couple and it was a
great comfort, and help to the therapy to speak her
The plant and
mountain paintings were on dry paper grounded with one or two
colours in veils. The enhancement of the initial grounding was
often from above with the warm colours to below with the cool
colours. Yellow was in the middle and provided the growing space
for the plant or the mountain atmosphere.
sequence of colour, allowing each colour to ‘speak’ before the next
is taken, bringing balance to the whole: all created a world of
harmonious social accord.
D. The Course
1. Festival verses
and paintings following poems by Arvia MacKaye-Ege ensued. This was
comprising the last two years of therapy. The patient had a
devotional nature which was rekindled by the poetry. Madonna
paintings and the Easter Sketch by Rudolf Steiner were used with
You who have given me, Your all
be my all for me and selflessly
Have set me free…
With all my heart, my mind, my
Freely I take your
Freely strive to be to become to
This new world mystery of
do free deeds of courage
of love for the good, the beautiful and the true.
Conceived and wrought
relationship developed as the patient slowly improved in the sense
that the fear aspect was lessened, although the depressions were
a) Receiving: In
spite of her condition, the patient showed interest.
b) Uniting: She
had a very strong dependency and followed instructions.
c) Deepening: The
counter-moods of fear and depression were obstacles.
d) Standing firm:
She was able to identify with the colour qualities.
She could never bring her own initiative; although she was able to
choose her own theme when asked (the theme of
f)Letting go: One
colour is allowed to balance, ‘speak’ until it has no more to say.
This process was always encouraged by the therapist.
g) New Birth: The
process of the painting is carried through. The therapist had to
suggest when the painting had reached its culmination. Asked what
would be next. The final mountain painted was ‘named’ by the
patient ‘Egypt’. This was a milestone for the almost autistic
E. The Goal of
1. The long-term
goal was reached in that the patient could slowly begin to make her
own colour gesture, when something was suggested. The study of the
elements was the final theme. The fire of courage was
remained very melancholic, her voice was firm and strengthened from
doing many articulation and fluency exercises preliminary to
speaking the poems. Often she had her paintings displayed on the
The patient still
does not like to be left alone, but now the old couple has moved to
a nursing home where there is always a nurse fairly close. She is
enlivened by the artistic therapy and it penetrates her
If the patient
continues after a pause again, the therapist would best encourage
her to become more independent. Considering her condition she might
now be able to enjoy painting with a group. Social contact would be
good in the therapy.
© Copyright 2005 Katherine Rudolph, Exploring The Word In Colour