Arts therapy (AKA expressive arts therapy) is a clinically-proven, expansively colorful method of treating depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Let me explain how…
You know that sparkling, alluring sensation when you realize you’ve been swept away to another place through a song, a painting, a dance floor, a mural, a rap, or a poem? Like when you think to yourself: “Where did I go? I was 100% immersed in an arts appreciation zone!” This sensation is an extraordinarily strong & effective form of spiritual medicine that guides the process of releasing grief, fear, anger, and trauma. This medicine has been used across cultures around the world (including yours & mine!) since the dawn of humankind to honor life transitions, raise vibrational frequencies in the mind & body out of depression, & to make space for joy, self-acceptance, connection to others, and reclaiming of our own power. Healing starts from knowing who we are & understanding ourselves, & the arts undoubtedly serve as an important tool to make this possible & transform this understanding to the next level.
It is my own theory developed through my extensive experience as an arts therapist since 2011 that, like the horoscope, we are all born with our own unique connection to one or two of the 5 main arts modalities, either as observer/connoisseur and/or as creator/participant:
a. Drama (theatre, opera/musicals, comedy, improv, etc.)
b. Music (headphones, playlist, composition, songwriting, etc.)
c. Dance (free-style, traditional/cultural, partner, etc.)
d. Creative Writing (poetry, song lyrics, spoken word, fiction, non-fiction, etc.)
e. Visual Art (painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, curation, etc.)
Just take only 60 seconds to ask yourself the following 3 questions:
1. “Which one or two of these am I uniquely connected?”
2. “Which was the last one I used automatically when I needed to calm down during a stressful moment?”
3. “Which one or two of these can I not live without?”
The answer to these questions will help me connect with you as an arts therapist & understand the unique ways in which you interpret & express your emotions. In this regard, the arts can help us travel to a deeper level than regular talk therapy.
I use the transformative power of the arts extensively in my work to guide us towards unlocking your creative potential that may be blocked by unhealthy patterns and/or past traumatic experiences. An example of using the arts in our work may be to answer the question, “What song would best describe your situation?” and explore the song lyrics to understand the cause and effect of your current emotional state on a deeper level. Or another example may be through guided meditation, by focusing on a particular part of the body that might be holding extra stress and painting what that tension would look like, feeling the paper absorb its energy and offer you a clearer angle on a usually overwhelming topic.
The heavy emotional and spiritual energy associated with depression, anxiety, and PTSD is not always possible to describe with words. The arts welcome both verbal and nonverbal forms of communication to give voice to the voiceless and help raise awareness of important emotions and patterns that may not have been acknowledged before. The arts can also bring to light our unique cultural and ancestral histories, offering healing through the power of reclaiming and preserving who we are and setting intention through ceremony of who we know we have the power to be.