Dot to Dot

When I was a small child, I had a colouring book with pictures made up entirely of unconnected little dots. Each dot had a number next to it, and if you joined the dots in the correct order you would discover the picture that was hiding behind them.

I wonder how many pictures might be discovered in these collections of dots if the numbers next to them somehow got lost. If someone had never seen a map of the stars before, which stars would he or she join together to invent signs of the zodiac? How many different night skies could there be? Which world might we be living in if we had been raised by someone else and given different explanations of how the world works?

How many different interrelations or disjunctions might we find between the things which exist in this world? How many terms might we invent for things which are intangible, like peace, justice and identity? In how many ways might we link the frameworks of our values or allow them to co-exist separately? In how many ways might we see a person, and in how many ways might we interpret his or her behaviour? That’s why I keep on joining the dots.

The story “Dot to Dot” makes it clear that we construct our own reality, and that different constructions of reality are both possible and admissible. It can be used to encourage clients to be more tolerant, to question their former points of view and to examine new points of view. It also makes it clear that the way in which children see the world and the delusional beliefs of dementia patients (for example) stem from missing information and the use of imagination and emotion to fill the associated gaps.

(From: Stefan Hammel: Handbook of Therapeutic Storytelling. Sories and Metaphors in Psychotherapy, Child and Family Therapy, Medical Treatment, Coaching and Supervision, Routledge 2019)

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