“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
– Pablo Picasso
“Expressive art therapy integrates all of the arts in a safe, non-judgmental setting to facilitate personal growth and healing. To use the arts expressively means going into our inner realms to discover feelings and to express them through visual art, movement, sound, writing or drama. This process fosters release, self-understanding, insight and awakens creativity and transpersonal states of consciousness.”
– Natalie Rogers
I was first drawn to art therapy because of my own first hand experience of the incredible healing nature of art therapy and creativity in my own life. It went above and beyond just talk therapy. Creativity is a positive force for change, and channeling this and tapping into it can be profoundly healing. Art therapy reveals our individual strengths and capacity for healing in truly remarkable ways.
Firstly, you don’t have to be an artist or be able to draw to experience the benefits of art therapy! I’m not going to judge you on your skill, the exercises are more about accessing your inner world and allowing your unconscious to express itself.
Art therapy is a way to express hidden emotions and access your inner pysche. Creative exercises allow what is buried within your subconscious to become conscious. It allows distance between you and the problem, freeing you up to work through it in a different way to just talking about it.
Art therapy can help clients who are so low they cannot verbalise their feelings directly. Art is a tool to help communicate unconscious issues that can be too hard to talk about directly and can also give an outlet to express frustration and repressed feelings.
Art therapy is used successfully in prisons, hospitals and therapy rooms around the world. It has been proven to help with;
- self-esteem and body image issues.
- history of trauma or sexual abuse.
- chronic health problems, illness, eating disorders and self harm.
- depression and anxiety.
- inner knowledge, insight and healing.
- grief, loss, life transitions such as divorce, moving house or jobs.
- reawakening innate creativity for both adults and children.
- sexual empowerment and feeling connected to one’s body.
- low sexual desire or high sexual desire.
- positive sexuality and sexual expression.
- relationship dischord, disharmony and mismatched libidos.
- positive body and genital image.
- healing trauma related to childhood sexual assault or adult sexual assault.
- PTSD related to domestic violence or assault related trauma.
- sexual and performance anxiety etc.
Art therapy can help unblock creativity in creative people suffering ‘blocks’ or ‘burn out’ and also open a wellspring of creativity for those that call themselves “not creative at all!”
What is involved in an art therapy session?
There are various ways of going about this, we can may start with an art therapy exercise of about twenty minutes and then spend the rest of the session discussing it, we may spend the first half of the session talking and finish with an art therapy exercise or you may like to extend to a longer session for a longer three step art therapy exercise that also involves meditation and hypnosis like exercises.
I may ask you to draw, write, make a collage or start a journal. All exercises will be tailored individually for you. Don’t like drawing? That’s ok, how about we try collage, sewing, sculpture, music, poetry or creative writing? There are infinite possibilities in the expressive arts.
Perhaps you would like to take photos and learn how to use a SLR camera as part of photo therapy? I have worked as a professional photographer for many years and am aware of the healing power of constructing and taking artistic images.
All art paper and pencils and pastels are supplied.
“We recognized the role of imagination and ritual that is shared between contemporary psychotherapies and all ancient traditions. It was also evident that the arts are the bridging existential phenomena that unite ritual, imagination and dream-world in a way that no other activity can do.”