How does this whole Therapeutic Art thing work?
Your Mentor/Coach will generally decide after listening to and working with you over a number of sessions, that there is a tool you could use to assist you in any given area. They will provide you with the explanation of the tool, as well as the materials needed to complete it, or they will ask you to use what you have on hand, or you can go out and purchase new materials if you are able. Then together you and your Mentor/Coach will work on the art piece, or on your own as Homework. You might discuss meanings of symbols or colours, but interpretation will be left up to you.
Why use Therapeutic Art techniques?
There are many tools in a Therapeutic Art toolkit, from mandalas to representative collage, to affirmations and mechanisms to change limiting beliefs, among others. These sessions can help to bring down stress levels, encourage focus, brighten your mood, or get at a difficult problem that has been plaguing you for a while without being able to name it.
What if I can’t draw?
That is never a problem with Therapeutic Art. We might choose different tools based on your own situation, but most of the benefits from these tools are based around lowering stress and increasing a sense of rest and relaxation. There is no wrong way to make art. There are no mistakes when you are tapping in to your subconscious through art. There is no skill required, but you might find your skill increasing the more you use these tools.
What’s the difference between Art Therapy and Therapeutic Art?
In Art Therapy, the client along with their Therapist are looking for interpretations and meaning behind the art work created in their sessions. When it comes to Therapeutic Art, together we are looking for art that might relax or invigorate the client, but we won’t delve into interpretations. That is something the client can do on their own if they wish, or with a licensed Art Therapist.
Are you certified?
Yes, through Transformation Academy, I am a Certified Therapeutic Art Life Coach. This is not the same as being an Art Therapist. This is an important distinction. I bring a toolkit of wonderful options to use, but it is for therapeutic use, not to be confused with receiving therapy. These methods can be restorative and beneficial, but they do not replace a licensed therapist.
What is Symbol Interpretation?
Often with Therapeutic Art we ask clients to look for symbols that might represent what they are feeling, or to focus on the colour of the sensation. These are great ways to unlock deeper messages from your subconscious. However, as with all symbols and creative pieces, you are your own best interpreter, it is wise to listen to your intuition around what these symbols mean for you.
Can I use the same methods at home on my own?
Yes! Absolutely! Once you have learned an art tool with a Therapeutic Art Mentor/Coach, you can bring that tool out any time you feel the urge. Since the main goal is to lower your stress and increase your sense of relaxation, these tools are designed to be repeated any time you like. From mandala creating to the perfect square worksheet, there are many, many tools you can take with you and reuse any time you have the time. Art is a wonderful means of self-expression. Sometimes we can’t find the words to say what we want, but by using art to tap into your subconscious, you might just bring the words to the surface, too.
What if I cry during a Therapeutic Art session?
This is perfectly okay. In fact, it is completely normal for people to find themselves tearing up after using an art tool that tugs at their subconscious. Often times our subconscious mind has been trying to get a message through to us for a long time — we are not always great listeners. But using various Therapeutic Art tools can help us unlock some of those messages. It is fair to hear a client suggest “I wish I’d seen this earlier.” or “This is exactly what I’ve been trying to say”, along with a set of well earned tears. Don’t worry, you are in good company if this happens to you.
Is Therapeutic Art for me?
We are all on a different path. Our journey is ours alone. Only you can decide if Therapeutic Art would be something you’d like to try. Your Mentor/Coach might suggest it, and you might feel a knee-jerk response of: “Art like this is for grade schoolers, not for adults like me. I’m not going to use crayons or coloured pencils, I’m 40 years old!” and that’s okay. Resistance to something new is normal, too. But if you go home and think about it for a bit, you might discover that your inner child is somewhat intrigued by the idea. It’s always okay to come back and say “Maybe I’d like to try that art tool you suggested, how does it work?”
Ask your Mentor/Coach if they offer Therapeutic Art tools in their practice. You just might be pleasantly surprised by the results!