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This particular article from the Hindustan Times, nicely and simply sums up ‘art for therapy’s sake’. We all think that when we have a problem, talking about it will help and it can – if you can talk about it! And sometimes, we find ourselves in a situation which has us emotional held up, until we can find a way to communicate, communicate in a positive and effective manner and art can do just that, give us a voice when words are just too hard to find…
“The classic image that comes to mind when you think of counselling is a psychiatrist sitting in a comfortable chair, notebook and pen in hand, and the patient lying on a sofa, talking non-stop about the early childhood experience.
This is because the best way to deal with a problem, or even know the problem, is to talk about it. That’s the common narrative, and it’s true to a great extent. But sometimes, a person suffers trauma so severe that he/she can’t talk about it. Can’t open up. Can’t deal with the pain in any way but to hide it away or keep it locked. That’s when the experts know words are useless. What this person needs is, to express himself some other way; which is why counsellors are now using art therapy to aid their non-talking patients to open up” (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).
EXPRESS YOURSELF (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).
“Art therapy includes doodling, drawing and painting, but it’s also more than just these. It includes music, colours, dance and story-telling as well. “Art therapy, when combined with counselling, speech therapy and occupational therapy, is known to show superior results for people of all ages including children, individuals, couples, families, groups and communities,” says Dr Samir Parikh, director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Hospitals. “Through the creative process involved in the artistic self-expression, people can resolve conflicts better, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and self-awareness.”
Doodling helped an 18-year-old girl, who suffered from anxiety and was unable to connect with anyone including her counsellor, open up. “I gave her paper and crayons and once she started doodling, she started talking about her childhood and problems,” says clinical psychologist Kamna Chibber. Story-telling also helped a nine-year-old boy diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder increase his power of concentration. And painting helped a 56-year-old cancer patient cope with her illness” (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).
CREATIVE TOOL (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).
“Art therapy brings benefits to children and people suffering from sexual abuse, terminal diseases and cases of marital discord when the couple simply cannot communicate with each other,” explains Chibber.
So it’s a useful mode of therapy – but not one that should be used on its own. “It’s used as part of counselling, not a therapy by itself,” says art therapist Kanika Mehrotra. “Counselling must continue. But art therapy is used when words cannot reach a patient’s emotional space.” (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).
For me, I found myself using art for therapy during a difficult time in my life and I continue to do so. What also helped me was the act of verbalizing my art process. With the completion of each painting, I would and do, articulate its meaning for me, inclusive of its source of inspiration. This process of story telling/writing along with the act of painting and photo taking was/is an important part of my art therapy process. It gave/gives me an opportunity to be able to examine my thought processes, my emotions and feelings which I at first had no words for! Over time, I was able to re-look at where I had started in my art therapy journey to where I am now and have been able to realize that art for therapy has been an important process for me, to be able to move forward in my life. An added bonus has been, that by sharing my art and the art work’s stories, others have been able to gain an insight into issues, that they themselves had previously had no understanding about; or issues that they themselves had experienced and now understand that they are not alone. By sharing my art and their stories, has not just helped me, but has actually helped others as well. And that’s a great feeling…art for therapy in action!
Reference: Singh, Veenu. (2014, June 27). Art for therapy’s sake! When talking doesn’t help. Hindustan Times Online. retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/brunch/brunch-stories/art-for-art-therapy-s-sake/article1-1234219.aspx#sthash.N0cUhPTZ.dpuf
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Whilst you are here – please check out my home page! My Art Therapy Journey – A window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytelling…by Karen Robinson
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