Friday, March 4, 2016

What's Your Art (Therapy)?

When I hear the words "Art Therapy" it instantly brings me back to when I was hospitalized. It was one of the (many) things I was made to participate in. We would all sit around tables in this large classroom and "draw our feelings". I was pissed about it. How was this going to help me? I can't draw for shit (except for the pictures I put in my son's lunchbox...they're pretty rad).

Little did I know, it wasn't the pictures I was doodling that were being analyzed but the structure of the drawings. As it turns out, there's more to art therapy than drawing stick figures, flowers and boxy houses. 

While there are multiple types of art therapy, the Diagnostic Drawing Series drew me in (see what I did there?).

"The Diagnostic Drawing Series is a three-part assessment that largely relies upon colored chalk pastels and an 18” x 24” piece of paper. In the first portion of the series, clients are able to draw anything that they want. In the second, they are asked to draw a tree. In the third and final picture of the series, they are asked to represent how they feel by the clever use of lines, shapes and colors. Certified art therapists are then able to interpret these drawings to gain a deeper insight to the person’s inner state of mind and level of self-awareness."

The therapist looks at what colors are used, how much space on the page is utilized, the length of the lines drawn, placement of what's being drawn, and how it all comes together as a whole. Also taken into account is the behavior of the patient and how he may change with the duration of the session. 

Art therapy is a method of non-verbal communication that digs down into emotions in a way that traditional therapy may have failed. 

My Personal Creations
I've been open with my feelings towards talk therapy all over my site here. It's just not something I've benefited from personally. I haven't given up though. I'm looking forward to giving it another go at the end of the month. The right therapist, so I'm told, makes all the difference. 

The thing about art therapy is you don't have to be amazing at the art you choose, nor do you need to attend actual therapy to reap the rewards of art therapy--unless you want it analyzed. Pick your poison whether it be drawing, painting (even by number), coloring (all the rage right now), writing, taking pictures, or putting collages together. Whatever you create with your hands is your art. Make it your own.

As a person who is depressed and anxious for a good portion of every day, taking time out and coloring is relaxing to me. It keeps my mind focused on something other than intrusive thoughts and it allows me to be creative. It reduces a lot of my negative stress just by taking the cap off a marker and going to town. 

What's your art?

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