I regularly hear this expressed in various ways from my clients after experiencing the wonderful healing journey that is experienced through art and art therapy.
Depression is often triggered by trauma, significant life changes, divorce or relationship troubles, death of a loved one, losing a job, failing at something we have strived to succeed at. These are but a few reasons, and then there are the people that suffer with depression that cannot pinpoint an event or something that triggered it but seem to one day or over a period of time lose energy, lose the will to interact with family and friends, or to attend activities and hobbies that we formerly enjoyed.
Art therapy with a qualified practitioner, allows us to explore that which we normally keep hidden, or have difficulty expressing with language. It’s interesting that simply starting a drawing or doodle can trigger emotions and thoughts that are new and previously unexplored in the therapy setting or in our daily lives.
Often my clients will be happily painting or drawing away in one of my workshops and suddenly they will see something in their creation that triggers an emotion or thought that makes them sit back and take pause.
At this point it is up to the art therapist to determine the correct mode of engagement with the client and there are various ways that this can occur.
Time and time again I see my clients express that the process of art creation in some way frees them from their thoughts and this then can become quite addictive! This is because the neural pathways in our brain are experiencing pleasure at the process of creation and this so desired when we grapple with depression.
So I encourage you, that if you are feeling any of the symptoms of depression to start to explore the activity of creating arts and crafts, and make sure that you speak to a professional about the depression if you have not already done so.
I often wonder about the concept of 6 degrees of separation or how to guide my clients to an understanding of their worth to the world when often they don’t think that they have any worth.
I often find that group therapy sessions and courses help clients to feel validated and valuable as the other participants of the group encourage and build up the individual at different points. It is a human trait that we see good in others before we see good in ourselves so group therapy sessions offer a collective encouragement that individual sessions cannot. This collective agreement of what is good in another is one of the most positive aspects of group art therapy courses I run.
The ripple effect. That small things impact the lives of those around us, often without us realising it. I did a class with Lifebook 2016 under the guidance of Tamara Laporte who, is not a qualified art therapist but essentially practices art therapy to a large group of followers all around the world. She talked about the concept of the ripple effect, you not knowing what small acts, however insignificant, and the effect that they had in the worlds order. I very thought provoking exercise and one well worth undertaking to help delve into the portions of our pysch that are associated with low self esteem and negative self talk.
It’s an interesting thought isn’t it?
When we are creative we access a different part of our brain. It is through this neural pathway that we can easily access our unconscious mind. (you know, the reason you end up at home instead of the post office when you are out driving for example, this is the unconscious controlling your actions).
How does this work in an art therapy context? Well, through directed art creation, that is targeted to achieve outcomes agreed to in our first session, you are free to create and explore those areas that sometimes are unknown, buried deep within our mind and also to articulate without the need for words, how you are feeling or how you see yourself.
I have seen it time and time again in sessions and online classes where my clients and students are painting away and then something is triggered in their mind and emotions that they weren’t expecting in any way. It’s at this time that your art therapist can help you to unravel what’s been triggered with further pyschotherapy activites and discussion.
I’ts always good to be in touch with our emotions. Art therapy is a vehicle that can help you to do that in a safe and non confrontation way where you don’t need to try and find the right words before exploring.
I am excited to create this space as a space dedicated to practical art therapy resources and links and also a place where you can see workshops I am holding in the Logan Area in Qld, Australia.
I have a bunch of workshops planned in 2016 at a number of venues, most still to be announced but I’m very happy with the planning for the workshops thus far.
Currently I am collaborating with the Logan Womens Health and Well-being centre in Springwood, Qld and this is an exciting place for all women to access some very cost friendly art therapy workshops. Look on the events pages for details of my upcoming workshops and courses being run through Logan Womens.
If you need to want to contact me to plan private art therapy sessions and/or private workshops you can go to the Contact me page and I will answer your enquiries from there.