Did you know that you can be creative without actually drawing?!
Art therapy is an “expressive therapy” like dancing, music, drama, and writing. The purpose is to express yourself in a way that works best for you and open up new ways of thinking. Making art can give you a sense of empowerment and confidence as you work through what is bothering you. The most important thing to remember is to relax and trust the process as you explore what your mind, body, and spirit are telling you so that you can heal.
Doing something physical and creative, creating something outside of ourselves, is a wonderful way to restore peace. Holding, touching, and experiencing the sensation of changing the art material into something we can relate to is very rewarding. It can be done with model magic, Play-Doh, or clay. Something happens as we tap into our feelings and just allow the natural process of creation to occur. It reminds me of simpler times when our ancestors would make their own pottery, furniture, and clothing.
The simple act of slowing down and connecting with our thoughts and feelings can be a wonderful journey to self-discovery. Oftentimes, people seek therapy when they have come to a point in their life where things have built up inside and they are having difficulty balancing or functioning. It is challenging to unlock these feelings by yourself. Having someone to talk to and validate your feelings can speed up the healing process.
Here are a few ways art therapy can help unlock the healing power of art:
Collage art is kind of like scrapbooking. You can combine colorful papers, magazine words, and various images to express yourself creatively. As you arrange the art materials on the paper it allows you to make sense of your world and what is going on inside of you so you can get a better understanding and clear your mind of the clutter that has been building up. It can be eye-opening when you look at the final product and see how the art tells your story.
Creating mandalas (circle-shaped designs), mosaic designs (small pieces of colored paper or materials arranged to provide texture), and Zentangles (tiny doodles, patterns, or spontaneous designs inside of a space) are great ways to get focused and lost in the zone as you slow down and connect with the art.
Painting gives you an opportunity to use the colors to unlock the feelings you have been holding inside. You may experience relief as the feelings appear on the paper and you can see what has been hurting you. Just holding the paintbrush in your hand can give you some emotional distance as the feelings move from inside of you onto the paper. Remember it is not about producing a beautiful piece of artwork it is more about healing and discovering what has been going on inside and letting it out.
Journaling is another way to experience this. You can play around with colored pencils, markers, crayons, and chalk or oil pastels which allows the intensity of your underlying feelings to appear visually with soft or vibrant colors. Something happens as the thought or feeling travels from your mind to your hand and on to the paper in front of you. It is a kind of release that can be a very emotional and healing experience depending on what you are expressing as you create your art.
Art therapy is for all people. Of course, children will benefit because they are so open to trying new things. After all, everything is new to them. They are eager to learn and love the colors because they are engaging and fun. When a child doesn’t know the words they can express themselves with art. It can give them a voice if they have been unable to talk about deep feelings. And, the same thing can happen with adults. Most of us do not make time for ourselves. However, finding time to explore what is causing our pain will provide comfort and relief so we can have more time for things that really matter to us.
If this sounds like an interesting experience for you, and you’d like to find out more, feel free to schedule a free 10-minute consult with me at your convenience online HERE!
Rachel Taylor Martin, LPAT specializes in art therapy with people of all ages to help process, heal, and make sense of feelings and experiences that are hard to put words to. If you have a sense that art therapy could be an interesting experience and/or right for you, then likely it will be! Plus, there’s no need to be artistic! It is in the act of creating that healing and insight can come, not necessarily in the finished product. Creating art connects us to our subconscious which is full of wonderfully helpful information. Clients report Rachel is genuine, compassionate, holistic, and non-judgmental.
Megan Bayles Bartley is excited for Rachel to join the team and knows she will be a wonderful resource for you.
Find out more on Rachel’s bio page on the Louisville Mindfulness Center website!