Sometimes in life, we experience events that are so confusing, shocking or painful that words fail to express our emotional response to them. As a result, those emotions can be pushed down and held in the mind and body, unresolved and unexpressed. Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy/counselling that uses arts-based activities in the healing process. This type of therapy can be a powerful and cathartic method of relieving emotional issues. It also provides an opportunity to explore and discover new insights about navigating life’s challenges.
Through the art-making process, you will be able to ‘externalise’ thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain internal and unspoken. Seeing the problem visually/outside of yourself provides a different perspective from which new insight and understanding can emerge. The creative process will help you identify ways to transform the obstacles preventing you from living your best life. Art therapists have expert knowlege about the qualities of different art mediums such as textas, chalk, paint, clay, oil pastels, and many more.
Once you have briefly discussed your problem and goal for therapy, your art therapist will select the appropriate medium for you to work with during your session. She will then assist you to explore and find your own meaning in the artwork through a series of questions that only you can answer. You can reveal as much or as little as you like about what you see.
Your therapist will never suggest her own interpretation of your work. You are the expert of your life and therefore only you can tell the artwork’s story.
If your artistic talent only extends as far as drawing a squiggly line, you needn’t worry. You already have what it takes to do art therapy. Your work will never be judged on whether or not it is ‘good’. It will never be observed by anyone except you and your therapist. The healing component of art therapy is in the ‘process’ of making the art, not in simply making something beautiful.
Discovering the hidden meaning of your own work by investigating its features can lead to deeper self awareness and profound inner knowledge. Your therapist will hold a safe and private space for your make these discoveries and assist you with deciding how to move ahead.