I've heard the phrase Art Therapy numerous times now since I began my art journey. I've even said myself "my art is my therapy". I know that art therapy has been in existence for many many years but it didn't become a recognised profession per se until the 1940s. But what does Art Therapy really mean?
Art Therapy has become so popular in the treatment of mentally ill or emotionally disturbed people. It is said that the creative use of paint, pastels, clay or art materials help people to communicate and overcome their emotional problems. There is even a British Association of Art Therapists (www.baat.org) whose overall aim is to"enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment."
Art therapy can be effective in two ways. It is believed to be therapeutic during the power of the creative process. It can lead to personal fulfillment and emotional wellbeing. Also, art therapy is a way of expressing oneself to the outside world when verbal communication becomes impossible to describe one's own feelings and emotions.
A friend of mine contacted me recently about how she had been teaching blind people to paint to music and she said the "results were amazing". She found their art designs had a direct correlation with the music they were listening to. However, it wasn't the resulting art piece that was important, it was how those individuals felt during the process.
Personally, I can take art therapy one step further. As you know, I suffer from a disability and from depression. Although my pain is constant, I have good days and I have bad days. More recently, my pain has become more severe. I thought to myself, do I give in to this pain or do I do something to manage it better?
So I decided to test my own beliefs that the creative process can really help you not only emotionally but physically too. The painting you see below is the result of me sitting at my easel and I can honestly say, during the time it took to paint this piece, I almost forgot about the pain I was in. I became totally engrossed in what I was doing. My hubby, unbeknown to me, came into my art studio to watch me. He said afterwards "I love it when you paint, you always look so happy".
I now know that my belief in art therapy has been reaffirmed. I wanted to feel relaxed, forget about the pain .... and it worked. Hence, I named this painting Peace Of Heaven because during the time it took to complete it, I was overwhelmed with a sense of healing.
Member since: 17th May 2012
Joint Director of our company GWR Fasteners Limited based at Weston Farm, Oswestry. Also successful impressionist artist at Art By Jude