‘The Keeper of the Hearth’

Marianne Adams will be representing Ireland with her chapter ‘The Keeper of the Hearth’, in a book published by Routledge in January 2015. ‘Multicultural Family Art Therapy’ is a collection of international papers edited by Dr Christine Kerr, Director of Art Therapy, New York University.

Each paper is in two parts; the first, giving some sense of cultural context of its particular country, and the second, a clinical vignette detailing an actual therapeutic journey. Marianne, who is based in West Cork, is one of Ireland’s most senior Art Therapists and a Lecturer in Art Therapy at CIT/Crawford College. 

She uses her particular perspective as a child trauma specialist to explore Irish history from the ‘cradle’ and ‘bass note’ of the Brehon Laws, to the impact of colonialism and the ‘abyss’ of the Famine, from the mystic traditions to the impact of Vatican based Catholicism, and more. She suggests that while we still carry traumatic residue from our unique history, we also have the means to grow stronger, richer and wiser as a result.

One of Marianne’s particular areas of interest is working with children no longer in their birth families. Marianne’s own history is one of being adopted in the era of the Magdalene Laundries, and this sharing in the chapter though brief, gives the work considerable depth. The case study charts the epic journey of a courageous teenage girl and her family. ‘Taylor’ was adopted at birth, and during her therapy, supported by her adoptive family and her relationship with Marianne, meets her birth mother.

Both parts of the chapter are fascinating voyages through ‘loss and fear of loss’, which Marianne describes as ‘universal human experiences’.Her writing is poignant, nuanced and textured. The inclusion of ‘Taylor’s’ artwork brings the chapter to life – you can’t help but be moved and inspired. 

Thanks to Deborah Ni Chaoimhe Sprake for the use of her beautiful image