One of my favorite things about Art Therapy is the emphasis on the process. Taking aesthetic judgment out of the equation allows space for clients to discover their creative potential and uncover parts of themselves that they didn’t realize existed. Still, clients rarely come charging into this judgment free zone. Each person enters with preconceived notions about themselves and their artistic abilities (or lack-there-of), based on past experiences and messages they’ve received from teachers, family, friends, etc. Typically, these beliefs are deeply rooted in self-doubt. At an early age, most people become self-conscious and stop creating because they no longer feel they are “good” at art. The art therapy session is a time to challenge these past beliefs, to let go of fear and allow oneself to play. Once my clients give themselves permission to engage in this process, I find that they easily reconnect with their innate creativity. Within no time, they’re absorbed in the artistic process, focused and in the flow.
That said, its not surprising that studies directly link creativity to improved health and overall well-being. Engaging in art making has so many positive effects!....
- Increased authenticity and self-awareness
- Decreased stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms
- Improved self-expression and socialization
- Increased resilience and self-confidence
- Improved physical health/Decrease in physical pain
So pick up a marker, and take 5 minutes (or more!) to create. Make a quick sketch, a doodle, a mandala. Let go of criticism and self-judgment and remember what it was like to be 4 years old, covered in paint and turning out only masterpieces….you just might feel better :)