Post plan Dated October 23rd, 2014. Have conducted Visual Connection Mapping (VCM) for one (1) year in the drop in center at Our Place Society, on Pandora in Victoria City, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Self evaluation / self reflection on my journey as a VCM helper

  1. What am I doing?
  2. How am I doing this?
  3. The strategy is (…)
  4. Why?

What am I doing?

Creating a new way of thought regarding treatment resistant psychosis

How am I doing this?

By leading by example

The strategy is (…)

Validating treatment resistant psychosis especially treatment resistant ambivalence and counterattacking both levels with straight-lining and transparency


The Mental Health Act in Victoria City, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada and the Involuntary Treatment Clause regarding law around schizophrenia in my mind are not helping but instead causing individuals with treatment resistant psychosis with no resources and no supports to land on the streets; and I do not agree with this. I believe this to be an injustice to humanity.



I conducted Visual Connection Mapping for many years, and am still practicing, but along the way I would question it. These are three quotes that resonated with some of my practicing principles and confirmed resolutions

  1. “As far as science is concerned, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that to look upon it as a means of increasing one’s power is a sin against the Holy Ghost.” Karl Popper, The Moral Responsibility of the Scientist.
  2. “Psycho-analysis is itself the disease which it purports to be the cure.” Karl Kraus9g2RZI5y

Every Wednesday morning from 0900 to 11 am I walk through the black steel gates at Our Place Society where homeless people from Victoria City go to sit in the drop-in center and have some food and coffee. I bring my Visual Connection Mapping sign and place it on the table and I take out my clip board and pens and get ready for an individual to sit next to me. Within minutes of my arrival an individual sits down. If the individual wants more information about Visual Connection Mapping I will share that with him or her but most of the time the individuals have participated in Visual Connection Mapping and know what it is and how it operates. Most of the time an individual sits down and while he starts to talk I start to draw lines on a piece of paper.

Visual Connection Mapping started in October 23rd, 2014 and this meeting is to mark the one year anniversary. More than 200 Visual Connection Mapping sessions have been conducted at Our Place Society at the drop in Center. The secret of the Visual Connection Mapping is that it is pro-psychotic. Visual Connection Mapping welcomes psychotic symptoms like paranoia, hallucinations and dissociations. It also welcomes avolition, flat affect and a lack of insight. It actually welcomes psychotic behaviours, criminal histories and personality disorders combined with addictions and other acute health problems in fact it also welcomes sexual deviants and sex offenders to talk about their lives with me. Visual Connection Mapping does not judge another person, it accepts the other person in a whole and unconditional way. Visual Connection Mapping places the individual first and validates, listens and acknowledges their unique point of view without judgement.

Visual Connection Mapping is not a therapy, nor is it any form of counseling it is meta-psychology. 21432759_10154748334842019_1182843604091721315_nThe process of Visual Connection Mapping includes tapping into the unconscious nature of the individual and allowing the conversation to roll in any direction what-so-ever. It can include free association, personal histories, observations about the outside world or important life situations encountered. The talker takes the reigns by verbalizing a conversation while the drawer moves her pen across the paper. The dynamic of the talker and the drawer is synchronized. While the person is talking, the listener is drawing and comprehending what is going on. The marks of lines on the paper represent the conversation resembles an in depth level of meta-psychology and psychic components. These psychic components can include emotion transferences, intonation elevations and hand and eye gestures made within the dialogue. The act of drawing lines on the paper represent the human connection between two human beings and it represents the unique dynamic between the two individuals in a way which cannot be replicated. This act of communication highlights humanity to its utmost heights because it illuminated the potential existentialism in the soul of the individual. This form of communicating empowers the individual’s unique character and this acceptance and validation of existence contributes both to the individual’s sense of self and to their own unique self-respect. Visual Connection Mapping focuses 100% on the individual. Each session is original. Sometimes an individual will sit down for a conversation every Wednesday morning and sometimes the individual will sit down, spill his heart out and then feel better and never return again. The drawings locks in the conversation which ensures the confidentiality of the dialogue.  At the same time all dialogues are down in the drop-in center versus in a little office room. The idea about being in the drop in center is to create an alliance with not just the individual sitting down to talk but also with others within earshot of the conversation. The act of sharing the communication and being visible to other’s creates a rapport and a trust within the Our Place Society community. Visual Connection Mapping is a communication Model – versus an art idea. Visual Connection Mapping is not art, it is a communication and the drawings are communication drawings. They reflect truth, honesty and the building of an alliance – one based on trust and safety. Visual Connection Mapping and the drawings are a representation of the homeless community in Victoria City and it is the communication device which listened to and encoded their unique experiences not in verbal concrete words but in abstract lines. Visual Connection Mapping represents the voices of the most vulnerable, most marginalized and the individuals with the most disparities. The drawings that represent this group of individuals may bring an audience in the general community to an absolute confusion and perhaps to a disgust at the seemingly unstructured movements of lines but to the trained art historian or medical practitioner these drawings turn into delicate museum artefacts and medical files illustrating the darkest secrets of each individual expressed with consciously or unconsciously and they map a unique soul like nothing that has ever been mapped before. The authentic journey into the soul conversation highlights the individual’s existence. More often then not the individual’s have their own philosophies to which they live by and create their own set of codes of ethics in which they determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong for their own lives. Hardly ever does finance come into the conversation, instead past memories and explanations for existence are components which come to the surface. Pain and anguish through verbalization seems to rarely be a topic of conversation. Instead the topics range from history to philosophy to economics to technology. Often topics seem to be reoccurring choice topics such as Vegan or Buddhism or Bible Studies. The individual that participate at Our Place Society in the Visual Connection Mapping always seem to take the helm and they whisk me off to their own descriptions of their own existentialisms. I get the impression that individuals enjoy asserting authoritative power over me by expressing their own unique points of views something that is a pride and a value to them and at the same time individuals seem to want to share their own ideologies with me with the hope and convictions that I, as the drawer and listener, will be over-turned and join them in their beliefs.

Whether the beliefs are something I would consider or not gets transferred into the lines and structures within the lines start to take shape. Balanced symmetry within the abstract lines equal the balancing of the dialogue, like a successful completion of walking on a tight-wire act at a circus. When practicing a non-judgemental stance often the talker lets his imagination race from many topics like the multiple wave directions on the ocean on a stormy day. The feelings of the experience can be experienced in a psychosomatic way for the drawer because of the profound intensity of absolute conviction which the talker expresses himself often feels like the words were contained for days only to be released onto my ears when I arrive on Wednesday morning. The lines capture the intensity and the psychosomatic feelings on to paper and the abstraction documents the propsychotic verbalization of symptom expression mixed with existentialism equaling the individualization of the talker. Documenting psychosis through the line frequency drawings often makes the talker feel at ease during the dialogue. I can tell because often aggressive words become soothing words and aggressive intonations become soothing intonations and aggressive body language gets replaced with a more gentler body language and the terror in the eyes gets replaced with a softness in the eyes. These qualities all together are so precious and are such a big part of communicating that they often get missed but each word, intonation, body language, eye contact and overall feeling means so much when communicating with each other and this is what the lines on the paper symbolize. This in depth human connection of reciprocated communication on a meta psychological level, something unique to each dialogue and something that cannot be scientifically measured through graphs, calculations and mathematic equations but something of equal or more value to human kind and I believe that it is in this essence that at least attempts to both bringing psychosis to light and at the same time accepting psychotic existence through validation which as a end result lessens the human psychological distress contained within a trapped soul.

Bringing the Visual Connection Mapping idea to the community tonight is an attempt to share both the intrinsic values of the most marginalized in Victoria City and to share with you the uniqueness of dialoguing with the individuals face to face. Visual Connection Mapping is one tool amoungst an array of treatments, therapies, supports and help that a marginalized individual can choose to use. Visual Connection Mapping is not a cure for human suffering but it is a device which encodes the human suffering and transmits the decoding of the human experience onto paper through line frequency drawings – hence bringing the psychosis to light and providing a loop back in the dialogue for observational reflection and feedback by the drawer and the talker both at the same time. Visual Connection Mapping drawings are of an anonymous nature but at the same time they are personalized to past direct interactions so the purpose of the drawings is twofold. One to be an expression of captured human experience and one which is the personal medical file record which the drawings take on. Exposing the method, technique and act of Visual Connection Mapping with the general population is intended to inspire, motivate and bring awareness about the lives of Victoria City’s most marginalized. It is an expression of hope that more improvements in quality of life can be attained through this method and through perhaps other methods in the future. This talk about Visual Connection Mapping is intended to spark an interest in learning how to communicate with an individual who attends the drop-in center at Our Place Society on a metapsychological level through mapping human experiences abstractly. This is the creation of a brandnew language transmission which needs time to cultivate and expand in the future. It is the hope that components of Visual Connection Mapping will inspire others to view the complexity of this humanity model through a brandnew set of logic, a logic based on Existentialism versus stigma and hope versus despair.


Part 1:  Introduction – What is Visual Connection Mapping?

Since April 2014 I have been going to the University of Victoria’s MacPherson Library to find answers as to how to best solve homelessness in Victoria City. My journey took me through many different avenues, from Philosophy to Medical books and from the Jewish Holocaust to Modern Germany today and then right back to Victoria City, at the Our Place Society where individuals whom are marginalized seemed to find themselves. What I found in my search is that in the past in the times of around 1890 there was a growing dystopia towards the marginalized. This seemed to be escalating and it hit its height in World War II. After World War II it was written that good triumphed over evil but on deeper analysis of the facts, I wonder if that was really the case at all, as political systems seemed to be ambivalent. Ambivalence is a symptom of schizophrenia according to the 4 A’s of Bleuer. Affect, Autism, Associations and Ambivalence.

What I realized was the effects of the ambivalent factor trickle down into almost all Western civilized countries such as West Europe and the Americas. This symptom of schizophrenia has somehow ended up in Victoria City and I believe it is what is pervasive amoungst the individuals who visit the Our Place Society drop-in center on Wednesday mornings when Visual Connection Mapping is conducted. The symptom of ambivalence is a medical term used in the context of being part of a Medical Model, serious mental illness sickness, and it is the most serious of illnesses, namely schizophrenia. Could it be possible that the whole of Western Society has contracted the dominant symptom of schizophrenia, namely ambivalence? What would the outcome of Western civilization be if that was the case? Would it mean a re-evaluation of all citizens lives? Would it mean that every citizen would need to be treated for the schizophrenic symptom of ambivalence? Or would it mean business-as-usual and denying that this observation ever came to light and hence burying this fact for ever and ever?

The next question that I was encountered with was who are the saints and who are the devils? Are the homeless people the saints because they are really victims and really part of Victoria’s Mental Health Medical System, and patients of the Medical Model. Or are the doctors and counselors the devils as they practiced an unauthentic one-way reciprocated communication asserting their authoritarian power over the patients – within the context of the Involuntary Treatment clause regarding schizophrenia in the Mental Health Act.

As a sophisticated society, how far have we actually come? Are we not stuck in the 1940’s mode of conduct? Where fear tactics and assertions of perceived justice over-ride the human rights of marginalized individuals. The ambivalent factor is something that did not just appear in the 1890’s onwards but has been around since the beginning of time. Within the Old Testament within the text of Jeremiah, there is a constant cry of mercy and a feeling of pain caused by the punishment Jeremiah is experiencing. Is not God good? Should not God help Jeremiah instead of punish? What kind of a God is Jeremiah’s God anyway? Within the context of being at Our Place Society and seeing the disparities with my own eyes I have often felt that God was punishing these individuals and condemning. What I was witnessing was so far from any kind of logic that I could not get my head around it. I started reading the Bible in order to understand. I came to two conclusions, one the God was man and second that the Old Testament was joint to the New Testament and could not be interpreted as separate and that from confusion in the Old Testament came light and clarity in the New Testament. I then remembered my

Roman Catholic ancestry and my Roman Catholic University education and then many components seemed to line up for me again. I started to view homelessness in the stage of the Old Testament where psychological development needed to further evolve itself in order to break free from the torment and psychological distress. In order to try to help individuals in this predicament I reached for a communication device that could capture and at the same time transcend psychological distress and that was the birth of the Visual Connection Mapping technique.

Visual Connection Mapping was all about the individual, their own unique existence and it was about mapping their existence into a diagram so that they could physically see the concrete design of their verbal creation. Visual Connection Mapping is so much more than lines on a paper, it is the soul of the other person, their words mapped out like geographical lines defining a new country. Visual Connection Mapping goes very deep into the abyss of a human being and draws out something that has not been brought to light before. It is a human phenomenon and it is not a calculated perceived idea, it is the opposite of that. It is the free-flow of line frequencies and dimensions of feelings and experiences that often get missed in a regular conversation. It is the capturing and the noting down of intricate psychological details that go beyond the 20/20 vision of a regular eye-sighted individual. Visual Connection Mapping taps into the unconscious nature of an individual in a very non-coercive way. It does not provoke, investigate and analyze instead its nature is all-encompassing compassion and empathy. Visual Connection Mapping is psychosis friendly. It is pro-psychotic and it is intended to work as a paradox. The more acceptance of symptoms one is, the more the symptomologies start to fade into the background and the more and more the unique personality comes to light. The Visual Connection Mapping is not some kind of quick fix to end all human pain and suffering instead it is an element to help cope with pain and suffering temporarily. It is a human composition. Often it is two human beings trying to help each other versus one individual being the helper and the other the client. The intention of Visual Connection Mapping is to dissolve stigma and replace it with understanding which is intended to lead to self-empowerment and the finding of oneself through understanding ones true nature and through ones own Existentialism.21369608_10154748327702019_4216761696467760004_n


January 2017: Humanity is a very complicated subject, or is it? Throughout history, there seems to be a lot of comparisons between the personalities of leaders of countries and even within leaders within the sub-groups under the leaders. All of these individuals have very similar personality traits which are often considered power-oriented, survivalist and very interested in capitalism. Under the leaders are often the altruistic individuals, and often they are non-power hungry individuals. In the ideal society, equality should be at the fore-front but in reality often individuals who believe in discrimination and prejudice are at the fore-front. The corrupt rule the ethical in many cases. There are two holy professions left: the role of the artist and the role of the medical doctor. Both operate in the realm of ethics: the doctor through the Hippocratic oath and the artist through his/her search for truth. Often course, there can be cross-overs where the artist and the medical doctor turn into one. Medicine has something holy about it, as it is not an exact science. There are other components, such as the individual and their genes that make the whole person. Sometimes, when psychotherapy is administered, some individuals with serious mental illness can get better and heal; whereas sometimes some individuals cannot get better even though they received the exact same treatment as the other. This medical phenomenon is exactly what brings patient A and patient B into different categories and within a hospital setting, this can create a medical inequalities which are unintentional, and are discriminated through natural selection and nature. How much can a doctor actually control? Healing can be subjective.


Some of Visual Connection Mappings’ results consist of assumptions, judgements and conclusions based on more then a couple of years worth of observing the marginalized in Victoria City in three organizations. Five key points –

  1. A shared psychosis develops when a peer model is applied; that is why it is crucial, if not necessary, for the helper to be a trained Mental Health and Addictions Practitioner
  2. Multiple levels of bullying happens with the participants in the drop-in centers, peer support groups and studio groups;
  3. There is a communication distortion when it comes to operating within a hierarchical process – making it virtually impossible to create a respectful, equality-based and non-discriminatory environment which the participants aspire to
  4. A decentralized system structure is not possible
  5. The control of power, control and influence is in the hands of one leader in each organization. It does not trickle down.

*Note: based on specific details, components, and real-life examples 2012 to 2017 Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Visual Connection Mapping allowed me to work with a client and map his psychological components through the use of an abstract drawing. Visual Connection Mapping is both an independent form of psychotherapy and a historic kind of psychotherapy. When I was very young and living in Islamabad, Pakistan, I reached to abstraction in order to account of very deep and abstract thoughts and emotions. As the days went on, I developed and designed more and more abstract drawings. One day into the future I started to apply the technique on people that I actually knew quite well. This deep development of trust was ready established and I was able to contribute to the wellness of others – by using Visual Connection Mapping. On a one on one level Visual Connection Mapping is a very powerful and useful tool. It can help others to contribute to change. There are components in Visual Connection Mapping which really do have healing qualities and components of restorative justice installed into them. Visual Connection Mapping also applied techniques of evocation versus education.

The funny thing with Visual Connection Mapping was that I used it in a Drop in Center and because I was analyzing and trying to help people in the Drop-in Center my experience started to expand past the client to include all of the people who were visiting the Drop-in center and then it expanded to include the volunteers, staff and management. Somehow them all became apart of my psychoanalysis. The equation seemed to expand and expand – including Government Funding sources, Government Policies and Politics and it then expanded to Canada and then to the United Nations International Law.

The effect of Visual Connection Mapping had such a deep affect on my psyche. It was an inverse reaction to an external problem. The construction of the designs of Visual Connection Mapping became to be like the architecture of the human race – and this was never the intention of the abstract designs but it is what happened.

Processing all of the data material that I gathered in my psyche during the three year period has been stuck for a good number of months and is only slowly but surely being processed into actual words, feelings, restorative justice components, contribute elements of change and philosophies which need to be expressed in order to be shared with everyone for the sake of open communication, open dialogue and freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression. The aim is to continue to process the experience of being a mental health and addictions practitioner while conducting Visual Connection Mapping at Our Place Society in the Drop-In Center. In order to process the information – I needed to step away from conducting Visual Connection Mapping inside the Our Place Society drop in center. In order to reflect, process and address all the hundreds if not thousands of tiny detail components, I needed to step away from the face-to-face serving of clients – and seclude myself in order to let my mind settle, my emotions fall into place, my experiences relax and my moral lessons come to the surface of my conscious. This is part of the artistic and therapeutic process. This is part of the medical model sequencing.skeleton_png5539









The definition of a bully is multi-layered, as bullies have many faces, disguises and they often have chameleon like features, switching from one form to another. In circumstances of where bullying happens, it is best to capture the instance and jail the scenario before it escalates into a multiplication of psychopathic like designs. The best way to defeat bullying on a transcendental level is to reach towards discovering ones own subjective signs of beauty. It is within the spirit of the artist that can conquer bullying behavior, as only the artist can circumvent injustices with the ability to demolish it.

Photograph taken by Annuska van der Pol Dec. 7th, 2016 in Duncan City. Title, “Golden Fall Leaves.”


Flashbacks are symptoms of treatment resistant psychosis and they can be symptoms of vicarious trauma. One very specific type of flashback is what I call as ‘the flashback recidivism’. An example of a process of a ‘flashback recidivism’ is as follows.

In 2009 I traveled on KLM from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe to Vancouver, Canada. I was in the jetliner when the air-craft hit turbulence and profound air pockets. The KLM air-craft moved up and down, from side to side and at time the whole air-craft would fall kilometers down from the sky before being pulled back up to the intended flight-zone. This weather-bound turbulence happened above the snow-capped Canadian Rocky Mountains. It seemed like the air-craft was just above the peaks of the mountains. My thoughts were, ‘if this air-craft crashes into the peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, who will ever be able to find me if I survive?’ I was quite aware that this air-craft would be like a grain of sand on a beach of hundreds of thousands of grains of sand, making it near impossible for any rescue plane to ever find this air-craft should we crash. Furthermore, there was an instance when the pilot came over the loudspeakers and announced that the air-craft was going to have to fly into another flight zone until the turbulence lessened. When the air-craft descended more, I looked out the window and saw another air-craft and their air-craft wing lights flashing meters away from the air-craft I was in. At that time I experienced a profound amount of terror because I realized that my airplane pilot was just as vulnerable as us as the passengers because I was sure the pilot: 1. could not see 360 degrees around the aircraft, 2. that there was no radar assistance from ground control this far up into the hemisphere and 3. I was quite aware that this air-craft could have landed up on top of that other air-craft (and it was an Act of God or a miracle that we did not).

When the air-craft eventually did touch-down on the tarmac at Vancouver International Airport, I asked the KLM stewardess about the turbulence and she mentioned she had never experienced that extreme level of turbulence in her 30 years of being a KLM stewardess. It confirmed, validated and justified my fear and the terror I experienced in the air.

Once landed on the ground and leading my life again in Victoria city, I started having flashback recidivism into this event approximately every one month or less. I would re-live the exact experience, as if I was on the air-craft and dropping out of the sky. The feeling of helplessness, complete loss of control and an absolute terror that I was about to die.

In the city of Victoria there are currently zero trained Mental Health and Addictions professionals, psychiatrists and medical doctors that can treat this phenomenology. It is my intention to investigate as to how to go about solving the flashback recidivism and perhaps in the future self- creating a realistic technique intended to lessen the psychological distress of my own flashback recidivism and perhaps it can be shared with others who experience similar processes to different events with the idea to help them too.

Written by Annuska van der Pol, BA, PDD-IMHA – Mental Health and Addictions Practitioner, Victoria BC, Canadaradar