Talking about issues and/or traumas can bring up many uncomfortable and painful emotions. When making art you are tapping into those emotions in a very different way. Art is a universal form of communication. Before we had words we had pictures. Unprocessed emotions and trauma hide in the part of the brain that is primitive and non-verbal. When we then add words to these images and tell our story we learn the ability to uncover things that have been hiding and weave them together into the tapestry of our lives. That is where the healing occurs.
When someone comes to therapy for the first time, or even if they’ve been in therapy before and are starting with a new therapist, it can be a daunting undertaking. Sitting face to face with a stranger, talking about your most closely held emotions and problems, is often very difficult. The art therapist’s job in the first few sessions is to make you feel comfortable about sharing your thoughts and concerns. One of the ways they can do that is by offering art materials to work with. They do not pressure anyone to talk, but find that some people open up more easily when they are focusing on a task such as drawing or coloring. When we engage in repetitive motions such as walking, playing an instrument, or coloring, we are much more easily able to regulate our emotions. Ashton Sullivan, LPC, ATR offers art therapy at Whole Health. Click here for more information on our frequently asked questions page or contact Ashton directly via email or phone for more information.