I know what you’re thinking, Art Therapy, it’s not for me, grade 2 stick figures were about as far as I graduated when it comes to drawing..well those were my thoughts anyway.
When the opportunity arose to try an Art Therapy session, this was the first query I raised with Bel and a common one that she addresses often. She explained that it doesn’t actually matter how well you can draw, and that the art serves simply to start a dialogue with yourself that the therapist facilitates through questions relevant to your own observations about the drawing.
After realising the success of the session didn’t hinge on my ability to create a masterpiece that rivalled Van Gogh, I grabbed some crayons and got to work, getting down on the white A3 page whatever I felt. At the time I was facing my second job redundancy within 3 years and hadn’t landed another role to move onto just yet. When I looked inside my mind to work out what I wanted to draw, I noticed that my attention was drawn towards those negative thought patterns that were hassling me about my current situation. The therapy was already getting to work.
What I drew wasn’t that great, in fact it looked shit, but I remembered Bels words about the quality of the drawing being inconsequential to the success of the session. So I dropped the self judgement (a lesson in itself) and opened myself up to the next part of the therapy. This saw me looking at my creation from different angles and rotations and explaining what I saw. Each question asked was based off of the previous answer and this resulted in a constant gazing inwards to pluck the answers out of the recesses of the mind.
Bel said throughout the session that Art Therapy specialises in making the unknown known. I found it to be a very potent way of getting to the heart of an issue that’s impacting you so that it can be unpacked and dealt with in a controlled and safe way. By asking questions that continually require you to look inward, Bel facilitates perhaps one of the most honest and open conversations you’ve ever had with yourself. It can be bloody confronting, but so can living with those irrelevant thoughts that keep you from experiencing fulfilment and contentment in your life.
Art Therapy unravels those thoughts and feelings that hinder you, and helps turn them into something that can be understood and processed in a way that diffuses their influence over your mood and hence your relationship with yourself and others. Certainly on my journey I’ve found that releasing ways of being that don’t feel good and practicing forgiveness of self and others for past behaviours, is one of the most rewarding gifts you can invest your effort into. Art Therapy helps shine a light on what you haven’t yet faced so that you can work to resolve it and claim back the space it has been occupying in your mind. The result is an eventual collapse of those ways of being that no longer serve you, and an increase in the feelings of internal liberation and freedom. If this sounds like where you’re at, consider giving it a go.
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