In part one of What Is Art Therapy I discussed the education and training you would need in order to become an art therapist. It can take 8-10 years before an art therapist can see clients on their own unsupervised! Now, in part two, I would like to share the healing that can take place in an Art Therapy session, and what a client can expect.
Art Therapy is about the process not the product. You could come in with absolutely zero experience with art and still benefit. Art Therapy is for everybody! It is simply a tool you get to use to express yourself. It is a judgement free zone, and I will never critique your artwork. My job as the art therapist is to be a guide for clients along the healing journey. I will guide you on how to use the supplies. I can give specific instructions on what I would like you to do with the materials. Each session varies. Sometimes clients prefer structure and like to be told exactly what to do with the art. Other times, clients prefer more freedom. Either way, I become the observer and then facilitate specific questions to get you thinking about what you are creating.
Yes, I do watch you make art, but I promise after a few sessions it will not feel weird. I am already used to it. I know how to hold the space for you while sitting in silence. You will be safe with me. I will also be super intrigued with how you make art! Watching you create is a part of my process of getting to know you as my client. This is the beauty of Art Therapy. Words do not have to be spoken for healing to be taking place.
I believe that words alone are not enough to release trauma. Although, talking about your pain is extremely helpful, the use of art gently takes it to a deeper level. The body often remembers what the mind does not. Creating art is a physical act that gives the body an opportunity for it to share its story. Art taps into the unconscious mind. It brings important information about the self to the surface. These may include various thoughts, experiences, pain, and trauma that can then be processed. With continued use, it can increase self-awareness.
It is pure magic, I swear.
I am going to be real with you. Therapy in any setting is not a quick fix. It can take a few sessions just for me to get to know you before we even begin to lay down the foundation. Then, as far as actually confronting your trauma, I will not make you go there if you are not ready. This process will revolve around your needs, and it is your choice on how you would like to navigate your healing journey. Healing is a process. When it comes to addressing trauma, I will not be diving deep into your darkness until I help you establish self-care tools first. If I encourage you to open up an emotional wound in session when you do not know how to nurture yourself at home, that would be damaging.
You know what is best for you! I am just an outside perspective that can guide you when you need it.
When a client is new to Art Therapy, I slowly introduce them to the creative process. I do understand for most people this is a foreign way of expressing themselves. I will do my best to not overwhelm you. During the first session I normally explain what Art Therapy is and will start out with a simple drawing to break the ice. But most of the session you will be sharing your background and why you have come to therapy. I know therapy can feel intimidating, so I try to set the atmosphere to where you know it is a safe space.
I will continuously discuss all things Art Therapy on this platform I started on Creating Light with Kelsey. As you follow my personal healing journey, you will learn the ultimate lows I experienced, the breakthroughs, and how art was there through it all. Art has become a tool of self-care for me. I am so excited to share with you the power that art contains.
When we see the light in ourselves, we create light in others.