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As an art therapy group, we have now come to the end of this lot of art therapy sessions. Some of the participants were sad to finish up, some were looking forward to their next opportunity to participant in another art therapy group and some participants unfortunately were unable to attend this last session, due to carer commitments. But for me, I have now reached a point where I am ready to move on from participating in group art therapy sessions. It has been an interesting and sometimes challenging undertaking being part of an art therapy group; but one that I have gained so much from and I am most grateful for having had the opportunity to have participated within. It has improved my sense of wellbeing for sure and allowed me to connect with an amazing group of people, who have shown me kindness, respect and given me an insight into how resilient they are in the course of living their daily lives, as carers, for loved ones with mental health issues.
EXERCISE 1 – “Zentangle Art”
During this last art therapy session, we engaged in just two exercises which took up most of the time allowed. The art therapist facilitator had us create repetitive patterns on a sheet of paper. We were able to use any medium we wished to create our patterns. Some participants used crayons, paints, colour pencils and I decided to use just grey lead pencil. I use a lot of colour paint in my own arts practice, so it was a joy for me, to use just one simple medium on paper – for a change.
It was a very relaxing exercise for me. I discovered myself just simply enjoying the process of creating. I found a sense of calmness working its way through my mind and body as I worked on my repetitive pattern. This activity “Zentangle Art Making” just empty my mind of all negative thoughts and emotions and I found myself just enjoying the moment…just being!
EXERCISE 2 – “Group Booklet Making”
Our second and now last art therapy exercise consisted of making a “group booklet” – one for each of us to take away as a memento. The art therapist facilitator gave us each a sheet of paper that had been pre-folded so that it made a little booklet. Our instruction was to make an image on the front cover of the booklet that would be representative of ourselves and/or words/message about the art therapy sessions. We were to write our name on the front cover and therefore making it our own personal booklet. Once done, we were then instructed to hand over our own booklet to the person beside us, where that person would then on the following page draw/write an image for the person whom the booklet belong to. So at the end of this whole process we had our own booklet with an image/message from each of the participants.
Each page tackled – was done within a very small window of time, so for some, it was a challenge to think of ideas/images for each individual participant. Some used coloured pencils, some used crayons and some decided to use ‘collage’ instead. I decided to do a very quick, miniature portraiture of each participant with wording in a balloon. At the end of this process, we got to see, what each of us had created and some of the wonderful notations that had been stated within these little booklets of friendship. Please find below, my booklet, commencing with the cover page which I had created and followed by the pages created by each participants during this exercise.
Now that I have had the opportunity to complete two lots of art therapy sessions, one being in 2014 and now this lot in 2015, I have found it has shown me, that we all need to find ways of being able to express our thoughts, feelings and emotions in a safe and secure environment. Art therapy sessions can be, in my opinion, a wonderful way for people to be able to do just that – feel free to explore what makes them tick! To get us thinking about what is truly going on in our lives that may be holding us back from enjoying life to the full. After doing now – 2 lots of art therapy sessions, I feel I have come to a point, where I don’t feel the need to continue with this form of group art therapy. Well…not for now at least anyway. This statement is said with the intent on being a very positive outcome for me – it’s just time to move forward … art therapy at its best I feel…
NB: For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group 2015”, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions. Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session. I hope you will understand.
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