Art: Express, Release, Aha, and Change...
Why are we doing that kid stuff in therapy? I'm not an artist!
The first time I ask a client to scribble, paint, draw or make something with clay in a session, they are sometimes taken aback. Once their hands start moving, they get it. But why is it so powerful? Here's what is actually happening...
We experience our emotions first in the subcortical processes of our brain as images and sensation before we make sense of them in language. Imagery and symbols rather than simply words are the most direct route to access and tame our tangled, difficult emotions. Creating art releases imagery born of our inchoate feelings and experiences. Once these images fall on to paper, or clay or movement, they are out of your body. They are contained and can be witnessed objectively so that their messages can be received and understood. Thus emotions that were once unmanageable and destructive become the muse that actually calls us to the dance of life.
Simply using words can actually interfere with the body’s ability to feel feelings as they are happening. It can be a bypass, or worse yet, you can hamster wheel forever on ruminitive thoughts that go nowhere. Any kind of creative expression gets to the vivid core of things effortlessly.
Benefits of the Creative Arts 1. Offers a safe container for difficult feelings
2. Opens up different parts of the brain that bypass inhibiting and often deeply ingrained thoughts and beliefs, which can be understood, then verbally processed.
3. We have a tangible symbol of their inner landscape
4. Artmaking is fun! It is a skill that can give us ongoing support, your own portable therapist!