Healing comes from the capacity to hold your pain. Expressive Art Therapy does this in a very playful and organic way. In Expressive Art Therapy we work with the senses which bring us back into our body which we don't feel because of too much trauma. Being able to express your pain through art making or play can reconnect you to your lost self and can enable us to hold our pain which is buried under addiction, stress, and being constantly preoccupied.
Expressive Art Therapy
The expressive arts therapist differs from other creative art therapies in that we are art based rather than psychology based. Any art discipline can be used to help clients:
- develop their own inner healer
- to be a catalyst for change
- to overcome addictions
- to clear blockages
- to overcome negative self talk
- to overcome depression
- to find your authentic self
We use counseling, mindfulness training and verbal reflection to help make sense of and more deeply understand the art making process and art produced in the session. The challenges in the art making process and the art itself often gives insights about the client's challenge. We work with the senses which bring us back into our body and soul which was avoided because of not wanting to feel the pain or trauma.
The Expressive Art Therapy Session
The accomplishment in art making is a literal enabling which can evoke responses of “appreciation” or “gratitude”, giving us positive responses such as: "Yes I can" or "I enjoy doing this".
Play within the arts is also a learning experience which provides individual empowerment, enabling and situational coping. Within a cognitive frame of reference, the coping experience in the artistic process confronts beliefs such as: “I am not talented,” or “ I am not good enough".
Meet and greet
Imagine that there is a way to look at your challenge, problem, trauma at a different angle. There are ways in which we can express emotions beyond words. What do you think of creating art, does that intimidate you, interest you, excite you?
Let's see what you will do if you're given space to express and create, what will emerge?
- Let's step outside of your frame/reality for a while and try not to think of the problem so much as a challenge but as an opportunity to learn new ways.
- We are entering the liminal space, time out of time, a pause in everyday life in which habitual behaviours, attitudes and beliefs can be examined and transformed by deconstructing and questioning the old self.
- I invite you to step outside of your reality with me and explore through ritual, art making, acting, and play.
Ritual & art making
We will explore the senses by lighting up a candle and remind ourselves what we are grateful for and what we appreciate.
Rituals are used as a symbol of leaving the literal world behind, or to mark important transitions, turning off our autopilot which we often navigate with.
No art experience required
You don't need to be a painter, sculptor or actor in order to use the arts for therapy. By using our non dominant hand, we start to play with a beginners mind and distance ourselves from perfectionism and criticism. All you need is curiosity about the presented material.
When we engage in the arts or simply play we are engaged with our senses and ordinary reality disappears in this time of play.
Art is a medium that can communicate what words simply can't. It can function as a cathartic mechanism which may purge, purify the spirit and give new perspectives for the person seeking help. “You are the expert of what is created in the session and how it relates to the challenge”.
Time for reflection
While working on your art or even later, the medicine (your art) you created might still work on you and inspire you or give you valuable insights about your life and can challenge limiting perceptions such as:
- I am stressed because I believe everybody looks at me!
- I don't think of my self being able to do this or that!
- I don't socialize because I am believe I am not good enough!
- I think of my self as weak!
After the session I will ask question about the art making process:
- What worked when you created it?
- Is the art work complete?
- What does the art work need to be complete?
- How does the challenge relate to your real life challenge?
- How did you overcome the challenge in the art making?
- What did you learn?
- What does the title mean to you?
When you are too close to the problem you don't have perspective to see the solution. We move away from the problem by engaging into the art.
The Gratitude Sound Bath
The Gratitude Sound Bath combines live music with art making. The guided meditation with live music will eventually lead us to what has been unexpressed which can now be examined and processed through art making.
The Gratitude Sound Bath can be described in one phrase: it is simply about “connection” to yourself and others. You have the opportunity to learn how to hold your pain.
Each session begins by lighting a candle, giving thanks and sharing what we are grateful for.
This practice is contagious and will inspire you on your healing journey to connect you with good memories, positive thoughts and great ideas. After sharing, I will start with a short guided mediation and play one of my 8 instruments. This is a crash course in gratitude, self care, connection, life skills, sound, music and it's healing qualities.
Group or individual session
For groups, any room with enough space for chairs and yoga mats will do. Participants will lay or sit in a circle around my range of play so that I can brush gentle sounds over their heads. This experience will create a healing soundscape where time and pain fade away, the body can relax and stress can be released with chants.
A biochemical reaction in our bodies will release dopamine and serotonin which will bring joy and connect the group. Listeners experience feelings of inner peace and acceptance followed by gratitude in a soundscape where people find healing.
As seen in the illustration people have their heads towards me which communicates “Please work on me!” I simply sit close to you and brush sound over your head with one of my instruments as shown in the illustration on the right.
Anyone with stress in their lives will benefit from the Gratitude Sound Bath. Some people that might have high levels of stress that would benefit:
- Social Workers
- People with disability, mental illness and addiction
- Chronic pain
- Emergency response personnel such as: Policeman, Firefighters, Healthcare providers
My versatile work experience covers:
- Children, Youth and Seniors
- Yoga background music
- Difficult-to-house people
- Street-entrenched people
- Hospice Settings.