‘Art Therapy’ By Anthony Taylor

The summer after his high school graduation in 1971, Phil Stone, a child of divorce, was to stay with his mom in Dorward, a fading hour from the coast central New England industrial city, where his mom had found him a job working as an order picker in a warehouse. The idea was to earn money to help with college expenses. When Phil arrives, his mom is shocked at signs of Phil’s emotional deterioration, persistent insomnia, depression and anxiety brought on by a combination of loneliness, academic pressures, and his dad’s unrelenting sternness. Sensing Phil’s vulnerability, a wise cracking group of younger employees at the warehouse fix him up with an overweight and dowdy co- worker. In desperation Phil quits his job and enrolls as an out-patient in an art therapy class at Dorward State Hospital. He likes his gentle and understanding art therapist and does a series of pictures that symbolize Phil’s nervous state and the events that led up to it as well as his hopes and fears for the future. The art therapy class features a mid-session break in which tea and cookies are served and patients have a chance e to socialize with each other. Other patients in various stages of adolescent situational crises interest Phil, one of whom, Liz, he dates. On a pleasant summer day they wander off, exploring the lush natural setting of the hospital grounds. Liz invites Phil to meet his folks, with whom she is staying as she deals with her own adolescent emotional crisis. Phil likens how his relationship nears a stalemate to “the blind helping the blind”, what often happens when two neurotic young adults meet in a therapeutic setting and try their luck in a romantic relationship,

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