This is a sample article that I wrote a while ago about ART THERAPY – As you will see it is generic in nature and informative as opposed to my usual posts which have a tendency to be personal. I got to thinking that Blog Posts are my new art therapy :).
One day I will share my personal experiences but for now this will suffice for those writers, poets, artists, photographers and all the rest of the lovely people who regularly visit Inspiration Import, who may be interested in the wonders of a non-invasive alternate to traditional therapy.
Art therapy is more than colouring within the lines. On the contrary it has very few lines instilled as guidelines but rather is set up as a freeing experience with no expectations as far as the art portion goes. Picture liberally painting up a storm without knowing what a storm can look or feel like.
Art is an emotion. Period.
Once the concept of freedom and discovery is absorbed the emotional profits are endless.
In a typical art therapy session the attendee is encouraged to paint, draw or create freely with absolutely no end purpose in mind.
Many may think that to participate one must have an art background or at the very least be artistic or creative but this is not the case. Anyone of any age or background can participate in order to ultimately bring their own issues to the surface and then figure out how to resolve them. Art therapy can also be a valuable tool in diagnosing a mental illness. The word mental illness is a far reaching term. It can include feelings of inadequacy, sadness and nervousness on the lighter end of the illness to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and a host of personality disorders.
There are a few options to those interested in self-discovery through art therapy.
1. One on one sessions with a trained art therapist.
2. Group therapy sessions including up to 6 people.
3. All day therapy session including many participants, usually self-guided with one or two mental health workers present to direct timing and supervise activities.
4. Do-it-yourself therapy within the confines of your own home alone or with friends as an outlet for harboured emotions.
It is classified as an alternative medicine being non-invasive and all encompassing. There are varying opinions on the necessity of holding an advanced degree in order to lead an art therapy session. Certainly it is up to the individual to research the therapists’ qualifications. Asking questions and attending by referral just as with any health care choices is key.
One on One
Expect the same rates as personal psychotherapy. A trained art therapist is highly educated in the field of psychology. The therapist is trained to look for symbolism, theme and colour uses to name a few. Both the creative process and the end product are studied and discussed. The result is a revelation of a combination of subconscious and conscious thoughts that may be difficult to explain in words.
It will be established immediately and likely with a signed paper that any and all subjects, artwork and discussions will remain confidential. This is essential in order to have the trust needed to be comfortable in a group session. Generally the cost is less as there are more participants. The upside of group therapy is that there is an array of issues so no one is ever left feeling as though they are the only ones who carry issues. Generally it is lead by a therapist who also needs to keep the discussions in line with the subject at hand.
All Day Sessions
The participants have normally benefited from art therapy at one time and wish to re-visit the process. The process is self-directed as are the results. Participants are encouraged to inter-act with each other using sensitivity and insight gained from former therapy sessions. A showing of the art produced is examined at the end of the day in the form of an informal exhibition.
The benefits of producing art and freeing the conscious mind can be utilised at any time with very few tools. A box of pastel crayons and paper for instance are easily accessible and can provide much needed peace to a busy mind.
When involved with the actual process of the piece of art without the pressure of producing a masterpiece is liberating and relaxing. It takes some time to ‘let go’ and train the mind to shut out everything excpet the brush, fingers, or tools on the paper/canvas.
“Hill apparently coined the term “Art therapy” in 1942, and in 1945 published his ideas in the book Art Versus Illness. Hill thought that when the patient’s physical resistance was at its lowest this somehow rendered the “animal ego” quiescent and allowed the creative powers of the “spiritual essence” to come through in works of art. On recovery, these creative powers would tend to wane back to the “pictorial commonplace.” He recognised that war was not only physically destructive but also damaged “minds, bodies and hopes” and that the need for psychological healing was even more important than mere physical repair of “property and estate.”He believed that the practice of art, “in sickness and in health,” could turn society away from war by making artistic creativity more appreciated. He saw art therapy as becoming an integral part of the National Health Service.”
Lesley Fletcher is a writer (freelance, books, content, lyrics, stage plays) as well as a visual artist with a concentration in monoprinting. To learn more about her please visit the tabs here on WordPress or her website at http://www.LesleyFletcher.com
Peace – Have a wonderful day.