Often people can say “I just can’t find the right words” or another one is “I don’t know how to explain it” when trying to express how they’re feeling.
This can happen when words alone, are unable to express a difficult or painful experience, that can leave the person feeling frustrated and unheard. You may have also heard phrases or comments like “I feel stuck”, “I’m feeling a bit lost” or “I’m just so shattered!”. Words people choose to verbalise an emotion or feeling can also indicate the body’s response and the possibility of where the emotion or memory is being held or stored.
Arts Psychotherapy can give a person that space so they can express those memories and experiences safely and holistically through using various Creative Arts. Issues can be externalised in a way that can seperate painful emotions, events and memories with the actual experience so that person can see the situation in a new or different perspective, or maybe get a better understanding of it.
It can also offer opportunities as an exploration for those who have difficulties with communication and verbalising their thoughts, frustrations and emotions.
No previous art experience or skill is needed to engage in Arts Psychotherapy sessions as it is not about making a “pretty picture” or a “lovely” arts piece. It is rather about a person feeling safe and motivated enough to explore a problem that they have maybe struggled with, avoided or is some barrier for them and are wanting some deeper understanding or resolution with.
As an Arts Psychotherapist, I do not analyse any art works or make comment on it. The client does, as they attempt to make sense of their issue and explore possible meanings because it is their experience, their memories and emotions that are being observed.
During the process of both Art making and exploring “a story”, can at times be confronting, however moments of insight and self-discovery can be incredibly empowering and have a rich cathartic and healing experience.