Art As Therapy

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paint brush, paints, and paperWalk through any resort town and you’re bound to see an artist sitting in front of an easel, looking out over a beautiful view with paintbrush in hand. Admit it: You want to try that.

It looks so peaceful and even therapeutic. It makes you want to run straight to the nearest hobby shop and pick up some supplies. So, why don’t you? Creating works of art is relaxing. Beyond that, it actually can be therapeutic.

Art therapy has been used by psychotherapists since 1940 as a way to deal with issues such as trauma and problems with self-expression. Art therapists are highly trained and capable of guiding you through the healing process. But, you don’t necessarily need the help of a professional to heal through art. So, how do you get started? Hit that hobby shop and buy supplies. You can choose pencil, ink, paint or even clay. Get an easel and canvas or just a large sketch pad. Go to a favorite spot or stay at home. The choice is yours.

Create what you feel, what you see, what you dream, what you’ve done or places you’ve been. How about a self-portrait? Create a collage from found images or personal photos that are meaningful. Be realistic or abstract. Do whatever you like. There are no rules. Whatever you choose, get lost in it. Put some music on if you like. It can be another form of therapy. Concentrate on the art and let it put you in a trance. Purge your emotions. Laugh, cry, get angry, or even surprised. Let it all go into your creation. No one ever has to see your project if you’re creating simply for relaxation or self-gratification. Or it could be a work of art you can‘t wait to display and talk about. If you’re creating art as a type of therapy, discussing your piece is the next step in the healing process.

Maybe you’d like to enlist a friend or group of friends to create along with you. You could all discuss your works with each other. Want to keep it simple? Take a beginning art class and let someone else direct you. You decide. Use art as relaxation or therapy. Create something for yourself or for others to enjoy. Talk about it or contemplate it quietly. Use art to express your feelings. You may discover something about yourself or maybe even heal a wound along the way. For an extensive list of art therapy projects, go here