Art Therapy

What do you think of when you first hear the word “therapy”? A comfy couch and a professional at your side analyzing you? Or do you think of painful, yet helpful, physical therapy sessions, or maybe a massage is your type of therapy? Do you ever consider art as therapy?

I am sure you have come across the term “art therapy” before and maybe just never thought of applying it to yourself. . . but I ask you to consider it now.

If you are a person who suffers from chronic pain, do you find yourself able to easily express your emotions? If you are like me, often times your words fail you or your intentions behind the words are good, but it does not come out the way you would like. When things are especially challenging, being still and quiet, and sitting in reflection. . . or just writing like I am right now, can be very therapeutic for me. But I have discovered, purely by accident, how a paintbrush can also free my mind and help me to work through or let go of pain.

When I was hospitalized a couple of years ago, there was  scheduled art therapy time. I am not sure if it was a couple of times per week, possibly? I noticed that people seemed to have one of two responses. Response number one: noses lifted up, and muscles tensed, absolutely not available to even consider what this class time might have for them. Response number two: curiosity and willingness to give it a go.

Boy, am I thankful that I had response number two! I would be lying if I said that I had tapped into an unknown master artist that was deep within, but I did find a creativity that I had not discovered before. It was a delight to watch how the colors were soaked up by the paper and how a simple brush stroke could become something so beautiful. It was also therapeutic to sit quietly and concentrate fully on something in front of me, something tangible and present, that did not involve pain. Sure, this can be a great way to express your pain, but for me, the act of painting was not painful . . . yet, looking at the finished product was at times! Still, I found it very therapeutic.

So, as I am reminded of this by a friend of mine tonight, I am again curious to see what works of art I am hiding within. I am also curious what you might be hiding. I invite you to explore art as therapy, in its many different forms. I invite you to read my friend, Ellen’s post at Wego Health, about an upcoming contest involving artwork submitted by those who suffer from chronic pain. Just check it out, you don’t know how therapeutic it might be!

A few of my works of “art”, feeling bold enough to share, but not necessarily asking for a critique!

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