“Art helps us tell our stories about what it is to be human.”
Making art creates the space to be with the things in our lives that require attention...the decision we are afraid to make, the feeling that is hard to name, or the issue that keeps returning.
Art Therapy is a modality suited for anyone, including people who do not consider themselves artistic and those who never make "art." The creative process helps people to resolve problems, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and achieve insight.
Historically, art therapy was first utilized as a means for self-discovery and a tool to channel the divine. Art as therapy can be traced back to early cave paintings. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that art was identified as a therapeutic discipline.
As a healing modality, art therapy was first used in hospitals and mental health settings to aid patients in healing and self-expression. Today, many people know the benefits of art therapy as it is used in a variety of settings from hospitals and private practices to schools and assisted living facilities. People have used art therapy to overcome many mental, physical and emotional challenges.
Here’s a list of examples that people have turned to art therapy for:
Assistance in physical healing after injury or surgery
Recovering from memory loss
Support in grieving and processing loss
Connecting to the self and beyond when encountering major life transitions
Healing emotional wounds
Developing one’s identity and capacity for self-expression
Eating disorder treatment
As a support to mental health treatment
Easing the symptoms of alzheimer's and dementia
It’s difficult to describe the transformational power of art therapy if you haven’t experienced it. Many people describe it as freeing. We all have the innate power within ourselves to heal.
My approach to art therapy is to help you release the pressure of making “good” art. If you can release that kind of control then there is space for genuine expression. Art therapy is not about aesthetics, but about feeling into the process of creating. You might notice it is difficult to make creative choices or realize you have an aversion to making a mess. All of this is information for you about your most intimate self. Creating art together will allow for a process where you can experience self-compassion and self-love in an entirely new way.
How is the art used?
There’s no one way as to how we will use art in your sessions. You can work on a project over several visits or make art in small bursts throughout a session. Sometimes, I start with a warm up exercise where you have the opportunity to stand and draw on paper that is mounted on the wall. I coach you through using both hands, drawing with your eyes closed, and really letting go of any attachment that the image needs to look a certain way. As you can see, the process is limitless. It’s fun, insightful and impactful.
Often, the art serves to help you develop insight, clarify your feelings and express emotion in a way that is both satisfying and accurate. Sometimes it is important to amplify an image, making a replica of it in very large form. I often help my clients learn to dialogue with their images, gaining insight from the responses offered. Art has the ability to permeate the very deepest part of us, where no words exist.
A few project’s my clients often create:
Inner Child Projects
“The task of therapy is not to eliminate suffering but to give a voice to it, to find a form in which it can be expressed. Expression is itself transformation; this is the message that art brings. The therapist then would be an artist of the soul, working with sufferers to enable them to find the proper container for their pain, the form in which it would be embodied.”
– Stephen K. Levine