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 August 2014, 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
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. Full details of each session can be found below by clicking on the session link, which will take you to its back story and my art work photo gallery.
WINDING UP FOR 2014
At the end of the seven Group Art Therapy sessions, I found myself a little sadden, as I was going to miss the meeting up each week, with a group of women whom I had gotten to know and appreciate. Over a period of seven weeks, we had shared deeply personal thoughts, emotions and feelings with an honesty and frankness that is generally very rare with people whom you barely know. The art therapist herself, proved to be an intrinsic part of the success of this Art Therapy Group set of workshops. I left with the knowledge that art for therapy has a place in my life and that group art therapy offered a means of being able to say out loud thoughts, feelings and emotions in a safe and supportive space with other like people. Just the act of having someone listening whilst we individually told our stories about our art work pieces, each session, served as being a very therapeutic process. It had helped improve my sense of wellbeing and gave me another means of being able to use artistic expression and story telling. During telling discussions with the other group members after each of our sessions, it was clear that most members had similar responses.
To finish up our last Art Therapy Group session, we had lunch together for the last time as an Art Therapy Group. It was a warm and friendly atmosphere with lots of laughs and good conversation and a blossoming of new friendships. 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, 5, 6 & 7 Art Therapy Group Sessions.
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 1 of 7
- Titled: “It’s actually fun!”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 2 of 7
- Titled: “I found myself emotional when I least expected it…
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 3 of 7
- Titled: “Taking a long hard look at one’s inner self can be childs play!”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 4 of 7
- Titled: “Using music to inspire the artist within!”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 5 of 7
- Titled: “Finding a safe place within!”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 6 of 7
- Titled: “Blessings, ideas and inspiration!”
- Please click here to read the back story for Group Art Therapy Session 7 of 7
- Titled: “Our journey is at an end!”
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 – September 2014