The JOY of art therapy

Having just finished a long day of private practice, both therapy and supervision, I was inspired to share with you how humbling it is to be part of people's inner world explorations.  It never goes away, after all these years, I am still deeply moved when I am trusted to bear witness in this intimate way.  

Art and creative expression through the intuitive play of drawing, painting, pastels, crayons, collage, modelling, sand, water, toys and sensory experiences, is powerful.
When it needs to be.  
And then at other times it is simply fun or a distraction (like a doodle or colouring book).  

Other times it will offer a literal illustration of a memory or word or feeling ('can you draw that' type of works like graphics, cartoons or realistic images - often with writing too).

At other times it's an invitation to stretch your limits and personal boundaries (like messy play, taking a risk with something new or when you don't know what will happen).

It can invite you to let go (like making something that will not last, as in sand or water or chalk or that you will throw away).  Or to make something exist (like creating a model that needs continuity over sessions).  

It can be an invitation to connect with another person (the therapist) through interactive play or making together.  This can be a big leap for people around learning to trust, co-operate, collaborate, accept and offer different views and actions. 

Ultimately it is an invitation to connect with yourself. 
You may need to get to know yourself as both separate from another whilst also interconnected.  People who've experienced/are still experiencing the impact of significant emotional trauma, people whose experiences are akin to those diagnosed with autistic spectrum conditions, people disabled by anxiety and social distress, people feeling at odds with themselves and the world they find themselves in...all can gently and without need to convert to spoken word... play with art materials in the presence of themselves and the therapist.  And in looking at their creation, this mirroring back to them their truth, them selves, the conversation begins.  It is a joy to be part of.