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Pick up a paintbrush to feel better! Utilizing art as a therapeutic tool.

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

Hello all, here we are again for another post. I just finished these two canvases and I decided to write this week's post on how to utilize art as a therapy tool. As I mentioned in the past, I have a background in both dance and art. I grew up surrounded by art and artists and, just like dance, I couldn't imagine a life without any type of art in it. In the past two years or so, I have been providing therapy utilizing different artistic expressions to manage negative/overwhelming emotions such as anxiety and depression. You don't need to be a good artist to benefit from art expressive therapies. It's all about the process, not the final result! All you need to do is pick up a piece of paper and some colors and start drawing your emotions. The following is an example of an art therapy exercise. Think about your negative feeling, (I'll pick depression for this example, but it can be anything!). How do you imagine your depression? Is it an abstract image? Is it a monster? Is it a person? Whatever you imagine, draw it, even if it's just a scribble of lines and colors.

Once you are done, gauge how you are feeling. Are you any better? What was difficult about the activity? Are you willing to destroy the work and utilize the pieces of paper as material for a collage in which you will create a positive image? If you feel attached to your creation and don't want to destroy it, on a separate piece of paper, you can write all the feelings that you poured into the drawing and destroy that paper. Now create a collage with those pieces of paper. How do you feel at the end of the exercise? This is just a brief and simple example on how art can help improve our mood.

Back to my 2 newly finished canvases, which, by the way, are made of collage and acrylics. It took me two years to complete. Yep, 2 years! Due to my health issues, I didn't have the strength to complete them. In the past few weeks, I forced myself to finished them, in spite of the continued health issues. I have to say that even though I'm still experiencing the physical issues/pain, completing these works gave me a sense of accomplishment and I definitely felt an improvement in my mood. I'll keep posting updates on my health, info on my work and tips on how to use creative art expressions as psychotherapeutic tool. Stay tuned and feel free to email me your thoughts!


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