After 27 years as a psychotherapist, I have decided to take the exciting step of becoming a certified art therapist. Talk therapy is amazing and can create healing from verbally processing emotions and thoughts. Talk therapy also provides feedback, a reality check and psychoeducation for clients.
However, sometimes talking by itself is not enough. Some clients are “talked out” and still stuck. They already possess insight, skills and tools and still want to go deeper. Some clients are interested in other ways of taking their sessions to another level, trying something different. Often, clients are already artists and using those tools outside of therapy.
As an artist myself, I know that in the past art has helped me to heal. I wanted to help others experience what I had learned about healing through art.
There are a few ways that art therapy heals:
1. Sometimes there are no words to express what the client is feeling or thinking. You’ve heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Sometimes a client just needs to show the hurt, the anger, the trauma or sadness they are feeling.
2. Art is a gentle way of exploring emotions and thoughts, such as trauma. With art, the client does not need to relive the trauma or event in order to process it.
3. Art safely contains the emotions. Emotions are contained on the page, in the clay, in the cloth, or wherever the client put the emotions.
4. The process of creating the art heals is where the healing happens. Art takes time to make, which creates an emotional depth. Also, the techniques such as pounding clay, moving your hand across the page, smearing the chalk pastels are themselves healing.
I am learning so much on my journey to become a certified art therapist. In this blog I’ll share with you what I am learning about this wonderful type of therapy.
Dr. Tara Alexander, LCSW is currently taking appointments for art therapy. She would be delighted to talk to with you about the healing aspects of art and art therapy. Please feel free to contact her by clicking the contact tab above.