Art Therapy helps you:
Creating art helps you to calm down and clarify why you are struggling. You will discover what you can do to solve your problems, not alone, but with a therapist at your side. You will be surprised how the very act of creating art itself has healing power and can reflect how you feel. Seeing the image of how you feel in front of you can help you see yourself objectively and think through issues constructively.
How the art refelcts you
The picture on the right was drawn by my son when he first rode a bike without training wheels. He did not need much of my help once he began riding it. He drew this picture just after he realized that he can ride the bike easily and felt proud of himself. It contains details, including sweat.
When I am anxious, I scribble with chalk (hard pastels). I may try to figure out what is causing the anxiety or simply continue scribbling using different lines and colors simply because drawing in itself is often calming and relaxing.
Natural clay is soft and very relaxing and calming. You can pound it and make interesting shapes; shapes of your energy; anger, sadness, anxiety and excitement. If you like, you could transform it to an art piece or useful object expressing your emotions.
What Do You Do in Art Therapy Sessions?
In studio-based art therapy, instead of talking about yourself and your issues, you are asked to visualize your feelings around the issue. You choose a media which suits you and your feelings the most. We may talk while creating or you simply create quietly and I am beside you to support your creating process. You may also look at a magazine and create an image based on a photo.
Visualizing and externalizing something inside of you is very powerful. This form of therapy allows you to view your difficulties from an objective perspective.
Once we identify your challenges, we collaborate to make a brief plan to solve problems over the course of your therapy.
Brief Art Therapy History
Throughout history, people have recognized the power of art and its healing potential. Many artists have used the power of the creative process to express their own thoughts and feelings. Both art instructors and psychotherapists began to see the value of creative art activities for healthy psychological growth early in the 20th century.
Art Therapy considers two women, Margaret Naumberg and Edith Kramer, as pioneers.
Starting in the middle of the 20th century, Naumberg utilized art to help her patients to communicate pictorially and combined it with talk therapy to begin to understand unconscious expression in their art. Art Therapy is used as a part of talk-therapy, psychotherapy and counseling sessions.
Kramer places the value of art therapy on the very act of creating art as a healing act. Her teaching reflects art therapists who work at oncology, nursing homes, schools. psychiatry and community centers. They often collaborate with other helping professionals in addition to acting as a mental health counselor. For example, art therapy is used in a waiting room for chemotherapy, where people have a space to express their anxiety and other emotions and mostly have a fun time. Art Therapists join the after treatment meetings with the doctors and nurses talking about how to help the emotional elements of cancer treatment.
I used both approaches in my art therapy practice depending on what is best for helping you!