Blog : art therapy

Art Therapy Activities for September

Art Therapy Activities for September

In our last article, we talked about the ways art therapy helps your brain. This week, we have compiled a list of art therapy activities you can use this month. These activities are a great way to engage your right brain, lower stress, be fully present, and bring back memory function that may have been lost due to trauma, depression, or anxiety. When our emotion mind overwhelms us, art is a wonderful tool to get you into your wise mind and back on track. Here are 6 different art therapy activities that will help:

art therapy activities, watercolor painting

Watercolor your bodily state. Start with a visualization- close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine that you are breathing different colors into your body. Use that as a way to get centered and in touch with yourself. Then, draw an outline of your body and use watercolor to color it in with whatever shade matches the emotion you are feeling at that time. This will help you get acquainted with your emotions and figure out what you can do to move past them.

art therapy activities

Make a word collage. Instead of making a visual collage, try making a collage with words that jump out to you using magazines, old books, newspapers, etc. Using the words that are inspiring to you, create a story or go with the flow and make something completely outside of the box. You are in control!

Create a color collage. Humans are impacted by colors. Embody the color you are feeling by cutting out pictures of that color and making a collage out of it. This will help you recognize and understand your feelings, and help you honor them and move past them.

Create a doodle chain. Start by doodling one thing and let your imagination take you away. You might start with a squiggle or a square–there are no wrong answers. With this activity, there is less pressure to make something ambitious and grand. Instead, it focuses on freedom and the ability to make something without being attached to what it looks like or the outcome.

art therapy activities, woman painting

Create a past or future self-portrait. Create a self-portrait of the side of yourself that you are leaving behind, or the version of yourself that you feel you have outgrown. Imagining who you were in the past, whether it be your childhood self or who you were two years ago, can help your brain with memory function. Additionally, you can create a self-portrait of who you want to become and where you see yourself in the future.

Draw or build a “safe space”. If the world feels unsafe to you, create a place where you can feel happy and safe in your art. Close your eyes and meditate–get into that space that makes you feel calm, still, and light. This can be somewhere in nature, a fantasy land, or even your grandparent’s house. Paint, draw, or collage what you envision and let that peaceful and calm feeling envelop you.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

Healing PTSD with Expressive Arts Therapy

Healing PTSD with Expressive Arts Therapy

Today is National PTSD Awareness Day. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that results from a traumatic event. Those who have PTSD are often triggered by memories of the traumatic event, which causes them to feel as if they are experiencing the event again, accompanied by feelings of intense anxiety/panic, touchiness, and/or disassociation.

In order to heal, those traumatic memories must be processed and digested. Because PTSD is mostly experienced through memories, emotions, and the body, traditional talk therapy does not always help. Expressive arts therapy, however, helps people with PTSD safely process these memories when it is difficult to find the right words to express how they feel.

Making artwork and reflecting on it helps you access different parts of your brain, creating more self-awareness and giving a voice to the traumatic experience through visual art. While painting, drawing, using clay, etc, you are allowing the area of your brain that stores trauma to wordlessly express itself.

Creative expression targets the right hemisphere and limbic system of the brain, which are visual, sensory and emotional in nature. (The right prefrontal cortex is deeply connected to the limbic areas of the brain and is central to affect regulation.) This allows art and imagery to circumvent psychological resistance, which is typically analytic in nature.

The Arts (in all their forms) also allow for the externalization of these very inner experiences and gives them shape and form outside the body and mind. Creativity gives expression to that which cannot, because of the structure of the brain, be spoken. This, in turn, provides an opportunity to re-imagine concepts of self and identity. Scientists have also discovered that the very act of creating – integrating the brain both vertically and horizontally – reduces anxiety, depression and pain, decreases blood pressure, strengthens immune functioning and improves attention and concentration.

Starting your own, personal expressive arts practice will help your mind in so many wonderful ways. Checkout this article here for creative prompts to help you get started. Additionally, Integrative Counsel hosts an Expressive Arts Group the first Thursday of every month. Our next group meets on July 2, 2020. For more information, checkout our groups page.

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, nature, and learning about other people.

5 Things We Love About Art Therapy

5 Things We Love About Art Therapy

1. Art therapy helps express what words cannot

Creating art helps cultivate self-expression, communication skills, and the ability to reach out and ask for help. The creative process helps individuals who are struggling slowly begin to express themselves and take the necessary steps to move forward.

2. Creating puts you in a meditative state

Making art puts you into a calm, thoughtful state because you are using more of the right brain and channeling your intuition. This helps you recognize the feelings that are hidden in your subconscious.

3. Making art helps build self-esteem

Creating art makes you feel accomplished, which plays an important role in improving your self-confidence and helps you to better appreciate yourself.

4. Art therapy uses the entire brain

In art therapy, both hemispheres of the brain are being used. Art therapists are able to promote this by encouraging full creativity and spontaneity as well as the ability to communicate and have a logical understanding of what is being expressed.

5. Making art improves mental health

Taking the time to sit down and make something forces the mind and body to sit with the feelings that come up and work through them. Over time, this practice strengthens the mind and mental health sky-rockets.

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

About the Author

Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people. 

To Be Well

To Be Well

Wellness is a word we see used more and more frequently and can be applied in a wide variety of settings.

An online search of wellness in St Petersburg, FL brings up over a million hits with services ranging from OB-GYN, chiropractic, acupuncture, gym membership, counseling and mindfulness to laser scar therapy and cellulite reduction. What could such a wide array of services have in common? Practitioners often use the word “wellness” to mean something other than “this is where you go only when you feel sick” or “we will treat you only as if you are sick”. The wellness movement emerged as a reaction to modern medicine, beginning when Descartes philosophized about the separation of mind and body.  While there have been countless advances in medicine as a result of this paradigm shift, many have begun to feel frustrated and fed-up with being seen solely as a broken arm, ailing spleen or a diagnosis with a list of symptoms to be met. We are eager to be treated as whole beings with histories and hopes.  Health is more than not being sick! It is to live and be well.

Other words you might see side-by-side wellness are “holistic” and “balance”.

Holistic refers to the consideration of the many parts that make-up a person: mental, physical, spiritual, social, occupational and environmental. And, what about “balance”? Balance is not an achieved state. It is ever-shifting. It can be likened to snowboarding or surfing. You don’t find one position atop the board and stay there. With every variation in the terrain, you need to alter your balance by flexing a hamstring or lowering a shoulder. This can become second nature, but often only after much practice. The learning process is usually full of falls, bruises, and the need for instruction.

According to the Wisconsin-based National Wellness Institute, human health is an “active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence”. It is a view that health is the result of personal initiative and ongoing development that emphasizes the entire being across multiple dimensions. This often includes attending to: our physical bodies through healthy diet and exercise, our social spheres by maintaining balanced relationships, mental and emotional clarity by speaking with a trained counselor or coach, and a spiritual practice through participation in that which we highly value.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your leadership creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Dayna-Wood-Blog-Post

Dayna Wood, EdS, REAT

Dayna is the founder of Integrative Counsel, where through the power of brain science she shows stressed out professionals how to reignite their creativity and spark new meaning and adventure in their lives. Take a complimentary wellness quiz to learn the areas of your life that could use the most attention and receive free brain-based tools to reach your personal health and wellness goal!