Surely you've heard of the healing power of creativity. Many studies have proved that. My field of work is mainly focused on art therapy and phototherapy, although sometimes the work also includes other forms of art, creative thinking. At the stage of getting to know the client I choose such tasks, which would show me which areas are best to work with a certain client.
Many mix up art therapy and phototherapy with therapeutic art expression and photography, which are healing as well, but in this case, we 'treat' ourselves, without a therapist or consultant. We try to heal our soul, the pain, or we put on our canvas the joy, enthusiasm, fascination. We do this ourselves.
In distress, pain and worries, it's usually difficult for us to find the way out of our established, old, deep seated patterns, all by ourselves. Our artistic or other expressions are often only the temporary solution that helps us or put us in moments of comfort, but rarely help us out in a long-term - to change a pattern of behavior for good. We need a therapist, a consultant, a 'coach' who will work with us as long as we need to replace the old patterns with the new ones. And when we are free to go home, if the therapy was fruitful, we will not go back to the old pattern of our behaviour, but turn to a new pattern without any problems. This is true either you go to the fitness, are addicted to alcohol or drugs, at weight loss, learning, psychiatric problems, fractures of the legs, etc.. How long, you may ask, it takes (for one of the problems) to heal? Sometimes three months, six months, sometimes a year or two or three. Yes, you heard it right - in art therapy, the results of working on serious problems will usually show after a year or more!
I notice that, in Slovenia, we don't pay much attention to a long-term work with 'clients'. How many supervisors (those true supervisors, not those I've met and for which I don't know from where they've got the title 'supervisor') for teachers, educators, parents, staff in nursing homes, social workers, police officers… we have? All who work with people need them. They need professionals who will serve them for the support, stability, leadership... Sometimes we can find support among our colleagues, so with some kind of intervision, which is certainly better than nothing, but if we want good results, a supervision is recommended, as the counselor, therapist... comes from the external environment, and the problems can be viewed from outter perspective. However, nothing really helps, if we only have occasional meetings, only when they are needed and are not really organised.
(work in progress…)
Many supervisors use art in their work, especially with people who have difficulties to express themselves verbally. When we can't express our pain, blockages with words, we do it non-verbally. When art therapist monitors your process of expression, it is easier for him/her to determine what tasks will help you to progress or return your internal balance. Art therapists don't judge your art work and don't make diagnosing on the basis of your art work. Art therapist's task is to gently 'lead' you on your own path.
It is known that each person has within itself some sort of protective mechanism that prevents an internal change or cope with internal processes, unless we are mentally prepared. Therefore, in art therapy, nothing can happen, unless we're prepared mentally. However, the healing process in art therapy or any other therapy can be sometimes difficult and deep (depending on how deep you're willing to go).
Many would have thought that therapists, in the same manner as they are helping others, can help themselves, but it's not so easy. We need a therapist, supervisor when we find ourselves in the unsolvable situation...
These days I didn't have a supervisor or therapist at hand, with whom I would talk to about why I can't accept certain events as such, why can't I accept the fact that some people just do such and such things, etc., etc. So I did some therapeutic art (see the picture 'in progress' below). Just to lick the wound in my soul, though I know that I will have to work on my pattern of behavior that always pushes me in such and similar situations, will have to work with someone who will see out of my frames and opsticles. This solution to create art by myself is temporary, but the first on the list I will need to work with the specialist, supervisor.
(...a detail of my painting 'in progress')
Stephey from 'Marked by the Muse' reminded us to say thanks to Art.
With this post I want to say thanks for what we have: opportunity to express ourselves, to create (we have a choice of what we create), heal ourselves and others, hug ourselves, explore... We have Art that makes us rich in all areas of our lives and at each step of our life. Think about it: just where Art and Creativity are not present??
Therefore: thank you, the Art of Creating, for being here! Esp. thank you for being there for us in Art Therapy and PhotoTherapy – you are the key of creative process we work on…