Do you feel like your inner artist is suppressed?
Do you love color and love to doodle or love the feel of using natural materials to make wreaths or like the feel of different textured fabric?
You might have an inner artist wishing to be expressed.
Maybe you’re in talk therapy and really love how this process has helped you move through your emotions.
But there is still the nagging feeling that there is something not quite right. Maybe there is unexpressed emotional material, maybe something not quite verbal, lurking within.
Expressive art may help you process your emotions and use parts of yourself that have been previously left latent. Making sense of your experiences helps ground you and helps you release the emotional baggage you might be carrying within.
For example, is the current state of Earth’s environment subliminally bothering you? As a parent, do you wonder about what things will be like for your children?
Do you feel like you are doing all you can in recycling, volunteering to clear hiking paths, buying an energy efficient vehicle…but there are still lingering feelings of anxiety?
You can transform that anxiety and passion using Expressive Art. Pictured here is my latest art quilt, The Ecosystem. It tells a story about the myriad elements of the ecosystem and my wish to channel good intentions to Gaia, Mother Earth, though healing Reiki Energy.
Robin Atkins, is one of the artists who has created the current movement elevating beading to an art form in its own right. She has created multiple art works around this theme of saving the environment. Her work, Madrona, is about her wish that the Madrona trees of the United States’ Northwest, suffering from decreasing rainfall, will be able to survive and thrive. Another work of Robin Atkins called Aqua, is found on here on one of her blog pages. This piece carries the intention of positive intentions of more rainfall for the beloved Madrona tress of the Unite States’ Northwest.
So, you can see that your art work can carry your personal intentions for healing and for working through the events of your life.
There is much research and much written on this process of using art in many expressive forms for healing expression. James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D, a Social Psychologist who is a professor of at the University of Texas at Austin, is a seminal researcher in using writing as an expressive way to heal emotional trauma. His seminal book, Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions, is about the many first-hand healing experiences he witnessed while conducting research about the healing power of journaling. He has since publishes two update works about the healing power of expressive writing, called Expressive Writing: Words That Heal and his latest, Opening Up By Writing It Down, written with Joshua M. Smyth are all full of research based information about how expressing deeply felt and traumatic emotions positively disease processes and heal old emotional wounds.
Another wonderful author who writes on this subject is Barbara Ganim, MA, the founder of the Salve Regina Expressive Art Institute. Christopher Carbone, MA, is now the Program Coordinator. I’ve met both Ms. Ganim and Mr. Carbone and they are both authentic, caring healing teachers with a lot of information to impart.
Ms. Ganim’sbook, Art and Healing , is less an academic work but more about how to express your emotions organically and unself-consciously using art materials. Adding a non-verbal and third dimensional approach to self-expression adds multiple dimensions and depth to your experiences.
Perhaps you may want to add Expressive Art techniques into your self-help repertoire.