Art is Therapy

While watching the news tonight, I was struck by how difficult it has been for the survivors of China’s massive earthquake — especially the children. I believe art can be used in therapy to lesson the blow of physical and psychological trauma. In fact the news showed clips of mental health workers helping the surviving Chinese kids in shelters describe their fears and experience during the earthquake by drawing. Art therapy is based on the principle that traumatic experience is stored in the memory as an image. Drawing the image helps process the memory cognitively and lessens the trauma to help resolve it.

iStock photo of child using art therapy

Here’s an interesting article on Glam Spirit by Jennifer Rosen that further explores the value of art therapy. I’ve never been one to get into the innate aura or energy of things but the link in this article to Color Theory is also intriguing with the description of colors’ healing properties. I actually use color theory when interviewing clients to determine what colors they are drawn to most — the ones that not only match with their decor but make them feel the best. Afterall, it’s their home and they typically want it to express their best mood. Choosing the colors that clients are naturally drawn to achieves this goal.

Art therapy can be used as a healing process. I thought this article was compelling in how the artist, Kearine Muizz uses cemeteries as inspiration for her Sacred Stones, painted tombstones, series. This technique transforms what might normally be a sad use for head stones into something positive and uplifting.

When we bury our cat Dante in our Memory Garden, I’m hoping to create some kind of memorial marker. Hopefully my sons will contribute to the design as I think this helps personalizes his passing and helps in the healing.

My 15 year old son, Jackson, is very creative and gifted in pottery. Here are just a few of his recent creations (top shelf). It’s interesting to see how different they are from traditional pottery. Since we’re on our way to pick him up from school (and he may have more), I’m only posting twice this week, as we’ll be on the road. It’s a long drive to Tennessee.

Jackson’s Pots © Jackson Spencer

Art, I know has been very therapeutic for him as it is for me everyday. It is also worth noting that at first, throwing pots on the wheel were a difficult challenge for my son but after much practice he has made this his passion. I’m very proud of him because his perseverance has really paid off.