Art is such a beautiful tool for healing. Some people think you have to be a great artist to use it as a tool for deeper processing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! The goal when using art in a therapeutic way is not to have our work sold in an art show. Really, it’s to help us slow down and make sense of ourselves and our situation. I can attest to the effectiveness! I’ve used it both in my own journey and also to help in my work as a therapist.
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Here are some benefits of using art:
1. Art can help individuals slow down and experience themselves and their situation more peacefully
There’s something about the process of putting color to paper that helps things slow down. As long as your goal is not perfection it can be an extremely peaceful thing to do. If you feel really self-conscious about your level of art ability, one exercise I like to do with clients to ease anxiety and help bring calm to a stressful situation is to draw a lateral figure eight. Be sure to draw laterally on the paper. By doing this slowly, you can help re-process whatever is on your mind and it can help create a shift because of the bilateral stimulation. If you want more information on bi-lateral stimulation, check out this book on EMDR therapy.
2. Art can provide the space to process through creative means
Maybe talk therapy isn’t your thing? Art can be a good buffer to help create a relaxed environment. If you’ve ever given yourself the label of a “visual learner” you might find that you process better by putting images on paper.
3. Art help individuals feel more empowered, valued, and able to deal with a task
Because of art’s ability to reduce stress, it can give you a whole new mindset. Having trouble reaching a goal? Draw a picture of what you’d look like reaching that goal. It can help you get a taste of what it’s like to be at that finish line and help motivate you forward. Trouble finding connection in your marriage? Paint out what it feels like or looks like when you are connected. By creating an image, it can help you take on the emotions you’re wanting to feel and that then helps you take steps to create a different reality.
4. Art help articulate deeper feelings
Art is said to have a language of it’s own. There have been times in my life when I seemed to struggle to find words, but then a picture came to mind of what I was feeling or what I was wanting in my life. This makes sense. We have two hemispheres in our brain. The left is more rational and can put words to emotions. The right, on the other hand, is the more experiential of the two. So the process of doing art can help you through what you’re trying to make sense of by tapping into a different part of the brain.
Art can be such a wonderful tool for processing. If you’re someone that’s not quite ready to sign up for art-therapy, you might want to try it at home. Two of my favorite gifts I received from my husband was this art kit and this easel. Create a little nook in your home to be the space where you can creatively process what’s going on in your life. If you want to know more about what you can have in your home sanctuary, read my post next week!
AND, if you are curious about how art can help you dive deeper into self-awareness and improve your intuition, check out my course!