The Power of Art Therapy
No it is not for hippies and art students! it is a practise anyone can engage with.
angels ascending and descending, watercolour on paper, 2020
the father of heavenly lights, watercolour on paper, 2020
When we hear the word art a lot of different emotions can rise up in us. Some, like me, jump for joy at any opportunity to mould clay and mix paint because I have a natural affinity and confidence within the arts. While others may have awful flashbacks of boring art GCSE lessons or constantly comparing your artistry with the likes of your classmates.
Yet art therapy is not about being the next Monet or Banksy, it is about self expression. Self expression without comparison, shame or fear, but self expression with freedom, authenticity and courage. Therefore, we are ALL capable of doing this, whether you hated doing art in secondary school or if you did a PHD in art history. ALL are capable of connecting our mind, body and soul to paint, paper and pencil and showing yourself whats inside.
Again, you may scoff at this notion but it is true. When I painted these photos above, I had not engaged with my creativity fully for a very long time but when I did, I decided to paint with no expectations but to freely express how I felt. It was so freeing to simple paint without boarders, targets or briefs but to simple be present in what I was doing and to see what came out.
Sometimes this therapy can be done with me and the client in a more directive way by choosing something to focus the creativity on. This could be a past trauma, current anxiety or relationship dilemma that needs visualising, whether that be through banging clay, showing a feeling in a colour or drawing a memory. All are mediums that will allow you to make the unconscious conscious and place language around an emotion that may be difficult to articulate.
Whether doing free flowing art therapy to music or consciously focussing on a particular struggle, this therapy can bring up powerful revelations in us that sometimes are hard to admit but can also make way for deep healing.
When we do not talk about how we feel or we lock horrible experiences away in our unconscious, it festers away and can effect us and others in ways we are not even aware of. But when we talk about how we feel, we begin to open the back door of our unconscious and enter the front door of our conscious which then leads us to process and release feelings and experiences. In a similar way, we are communicating our feelings through art which can actually serve us better in communicating our feelings because it forms emotions and experiences as physical and visual realities.
So why not give it a try and you may just find a new way of expressing yourself.. you may even enjoy it!
Stay Safe, Stay Blessed, Stay Curious