Sometimes we simply cannot put our experiences into words. Art therapy is a different way to access non-verbal experiences. When we endure the most challenging moments in our lives, they don't happen exclusively with words. Art materials allow us to access what troubles us from a non-verbal and unconscious place. Accessing our greatest struggles through the use of art materials can allow us to form a better understanding of ourselves while building new experiences and more effective patterns of behavior.
Some of the most powerful experiences I have had with art therapy are with individuals who say to me "I am terrible at art!"
Here's the best part: no prior art experience is needed.
We won't be working together to create a beautiful image or a skilled painting, instead, we will be using art materials as a means of expression and a tool to better understand ourselves.
WHAT IS ART THERAPY?
Art therapy is a specialized type of therapy that adds creative expression to the therapeutic process. It is is guided by an experienced art therapist, like me, but I'm not here to make interpretations or tell you what your artwork means. Everyone is different, so no two people are going to experience art therapy in the exact same way. Sometimes using words just isn’t enough. Creating imagery can help you express your inner voice and clarify your intuition. By tapping into a part of yourself that isn't limited to words, you can access an intrinsic monologue and inner knowledge that can be hard to uncover through language alone. The imagery you make can take almost any form, in any medium. I'll supply all the materials you need including paper, paint, oil pastels, colored pencils, ink and collage. There's no right or wrong way to do this. Some people will find that they would like to speak while making art, and others will prefer to work quietly and discuss their process afterwards. If you don't want to jump right into making art during our sessions, we can start off with talk therapy and slowly begin to add elements of art therapy into the process if or when you would like. As a skilled listener and observer I can help you clarify your issues, advance your goals, and explore your feelings through both verbal and non-verbal means.
WHO benefits from art therapy?
Art therapy can be a positive experience for almost anyone...even if you've never picked up a paintbrush! The creative process can be especially helpful when you're processing any sort of trauma that might be tough to put into words. Depending on what statistic you read, between 50% and 70% of people will experience at least one trauma in their lifetime. After a person has experienced trauma, it's common for them to be hesitant or unable to find words to label their experience. We can use art therapy to bypass the typical defense mechanisms and censorship that your conscious mind generally applies. If you feel like your brain is becoming overwhelmed as it tries to sort through a particular issue, the creative process can be a soothing influence that encourages you to you articulate and address that issue. The process and the resulting artwork can help you resolve conflicts, manage problematic behaviors, reduce negative stress, reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem, and achieve personal insight. If any element of that resonates with you, then you might benefit from art therapy. I've worked with individuals, couples, families, and groups.