What is Art Therapy?
I found this definition that resonates with me:
Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The creative process involved in expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviours and feelings, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and awareness.
In the past I held the belief that I can’t draw, therefore I could never be an artist; today you can hardly get me away from the water colours and paper, I’ve become a crazed lunatic about painting. Sure some of the things I paint are weird, wonderful, unusual and some may border on just plain ugly. For the first time in many months I’ve been able to release stress, quiet my mind chatter totally and connect to spirit in a new and powerful way, there’s nothing wrong with that!
In a world where there is a multitude of ways to communicate and express one’s self, art or perhaps art therapy is one that works well for me. I never really thought about it until my friend Jackie McSween and I spent some time together a few months ago and she shared her work and insights from her art with me. Two months later, there I was one day standing in a store with brushes, water colours and paper in my hand, and no idea how or what to do with them.
Other forms of communication often elicit the use of words or language as a means of communication and often times, I may be incapable of expressing myself within that limited form. Painting has been a God send to me, I can tell my boss off, release anger, share my love for nature, express my connection to the Divine, embrace myself; all without saying one word…how sweet is that?
I would imagine that, as with most any therapy, art as therapy is generally used as a treatment or way to improve one’s emotional state or mental well-being, used to relieve stress or tension, or it can be used as a mode of self-discovery. For me it has been a little of each.
I tried to paint something specific one day and it was a total disaster. The most important thing I’ve found through this process is to just paint, whatever comes out, try not to judge, fix or think. Let the inner child come out and play in whatever way it chooses.
I have also; in 2 short weeks decided that I am a fantastic artist…hmmm, I wonder if that’s how all artist think when they first begin.
Then yesterday; the discovery of all discoveries; I was preparing for a session with a client from San Diego. I was waiting for her call and did my usual “I AM Presence” connection, tuned in and downloaded some info from her guides. While I waited for her phone call I began to paint, and paint and paint. I was quickly informed that the painting was an expression of what was going on in her being and body. Wow, that’s powerful! She called 30 minutes later and I asked her questions related to what I had painted, it was dead on, the colour, the symbols, the conflicts and the greatness. This Art therapy stuff has given my work an entirely new avenue, and I’m truly loving it.
I feel blessed and send many thanks to Jackie for putting the thought into my soul. I believe that Art Therapy can be effective for people of any age, individuals, couples, families, or groups in settings such as counselling agencies, schools, treatment centers, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, correctional institutes, and elder care locations.
So if you are in pain, suffering emotionally, angry or happy and joyous, pick up some paper and start doodling, I guarantee you will find freedom or liberation in some form, likely the one you need most.
For more information on how to get your art in all forms out there click on to Jackie’s blog: http://pointsthruprose.wordpress.com/
Over and out, there’s a blank paper calling my name,
Blessings to all and your creations…Rev. Carol Lefevre B.Msc.