My art therapy journey has been a solo experience up until now, meaning without any outside influences or company. It has been a very personal endeavour and one that at first was just for me. Over recent years though, I began to share some of my art work through group exhibitions which has been enlightening and revealing. It was through these exhibitions that I learned about the power of art as a form of self-expression; a way to empower a person with a visual voice, when words are too had to find.
In 2015, once again, I was fortunately asked, if I would like to join an art therapy group as a participant. The small group was especially for those who were carers for another in their lives. The sessions were designed to offer individuals a way to express themselves through art and also give them an opportunity to meet new people; to share thoughts, emotions and life experiences within an imaginative and creative space.
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT ART THERAPY
During the course of these Art Therapy Group Sessions I found them to be very interesting, challenging and enlightening. What I learned was that Art therapy can be a surprising process within a group session. It is an incredible way of learning about one’s self and about others, in a safe and supportive environment. It can reveal pain, sorrow, joy and laughter. NB: Full details of each session can be found by clicking on the session link below, which will then take you to its back story and my art work photo gallery.
WINDING UP FOR 2015
We have now come to the end of this lot of Group Art Therapy sessions for 2015. 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 well-being 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.
CONCLUSION – 2014/2015
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…
For those who would like to know and understand more about ‘art for therapy’ and the benefits of ‘group art therapy’ – the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association published an excellent article called ‘Art Making as a Mental Health Recovery Tool for change and Coping’ which can be viewed here.
Thank you for joining me on this Art Therapy Group Session Journey! Please click on the below links to view the back story for Nos. 1,2,3,4 and 5 Art Therapy Group Sessions and following another lot of sessions within 2015.
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 1 of 5
- Titled: “A Tree of Treasured Memories”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 2, 3 and 4 of 5
- Titled: “It gets you thinking…”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 5 of 5
- Titled: “Winding Up…”
- Please click here to read the back story for Art Therapy Group Session One – July 2015
- Titled: “A Warm Up…”
- Please click here to read the back story for Art Therapy Session Two – July 2015
- Titled: “Starry Night”
- Please click here to read the back story for Art Therapy Session Three – July 2015
- Titled: “What is important…Mandala”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session Four – August 2015
- Titled: “Fantasy, Mystical Creature of Self”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session Five – August 2015
- Titled: “Commencement of Group Project”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session Six – August 2015
- Titled: “Second Step of Group Project”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session Seven – September 2015
- Titled “Third Step of Group Project”
NB: For the purposes of this weblog “Group Art Therapy”, I have not mentioned any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that ran the sessions. Individuals have the right to privacy, so it is only about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular session. I hope you will understand.
© Karen Robinson – April 2015