Art of Healing Counseling
Building off their lived experiences and professional vantage points, these thinkers and practitioners explore how art can heal.
There is a scarcity of formal, evaluative research on how art assists healing in the case of people suffering from life-threatening illnesses and possibly facing death. This research project follows in this tradition and formally documents one person’s journey.
Trauma is a powerful emotional reaction to a terrifying and life-threatening event or situation. Many people who experience trauma develop a serious mental health condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can lead to nightmares, flashbacks, and avoidance behaviors. In addition to traditional therapy, patients suffering from PTSD can benefit from art of healing counseling.
Studies show that creative arts therapies like visual art, music and dance can activate the parts of the brain involved in processing emotions nonverbally. This helps survivors convey their feelings and experiences when words fail.
In trauma, the memory of a frightening or dangerous event is stored without the verbal elements that help us make sense of it. The traumatic memories are recalled in the form of sensory and kinesthetic cues that trigger anxiety and fear responses. In a safe and trusted therapeutic relationship, the art-making process can help survivors find an avenue to express these emotions without words. This can allow them to learn that the danger has passed and that they are safe.
Anxiety is a common mental health condition that can lead to feelings of fear, worry and tension. People who have anxiety can have a hard time controlling these symptoms and may feel overwhelmed with daily tasks and relationships.
Art therapy is a powerful tool for managing anxiety symptoms. It helps individuals express their feelings and emotions, and it can help them develop coping skills to manage their anxiety. There are many different types of art therapy for anxiety, including painting, drawing and collages. These activities can be especially helpful for individuals who have trouble expressing themselves verbally.
One effective art therapy for anxiety is creating a comfort castle. This allows clients to doodle or color in a safe space and distracts them from the anxious thoughts that are running through their heads. It can also be used as a way to practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing. A replication study also found that coloring mandalas reduces anxiety.
While everyone feels sad or low sometimes, if feelings of sadness linger for days or weeks and interfere with your daily life, you may have depression. Depression is a mental illness that requires treatment, usually with medication or psychotherapy.
It is important to get treatment at the earliest signs of depression to prevent it from getting worse. You can also find help and support from family and friends. You can also try creative arts therapy, which has been used to treat emotional disorders for decades.
Symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include persistent sadness or hopelessness, feelings of helplessness and worthlessness, a loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, or a feeling that everything is too much to handle. Depression can also cause a variety of physical symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, or aches and pains. Many people who have depression develop other health conditions, such as anxiety or a substance use disorder.
If you’re dealing with difficult relationships, counseling may be able to help. It can help you express feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction, and grief in a safe environment. It can also teach you how to communicate with other people more effectively. It can even help you decide whether a relationship is healthy or not.
Unlike medicine, art therapy is not an exact science. However, researchers have identified several common characteristics that produce clinical change in patients. These techniques are amenable to study, and they include clinician empathy, warmth and genuineness, and a strong therapeutic alliance with the patient.
A growing number of art and wellness initiatives are bringing together artists, health and medicine. These collaborations include neuroscientists, somatic experience practitioners, therapists and more. While these efforts don’t cure a patient of a mental illness, they can help them cope with their symptoms and find healing. Moreover, they can also encourage people to explore the power of art as a form of healing.