Art Therapy

with Adults

We are all capable of being profoundly, beautifully creative… The seeds of much of our creativity come from the unconscious, our feelings and intuition. The unconscious is our deep well. Most of us have put a lid over that well. The expressive arts movement, art, writing, sounding, music, meditation, and imagery lead us into the unconscious. This often allows us to express previously unknown facets of ourselves, thus bringing to light new information and awareness. – Natalie Rogers, Ph.D., REAT

Imagery taps into a person’s earliest way of knowing and reacting to the world; therefore, it is not foreign to the experience of learning. Art as a language of therapy, combined with verbal dialogue, uses all of our capacities to find a more successful resolution to our difficulties.

In art therapy, the client is asked to create a collage, make some marks on paper, or shape a small piece of clay to illustrate the difficulties that have brought them to therapy. The art therapist does not interpret the art piece, and the clients are free to share as much of the meaning of their art as they choose. When the negative behavior is illustrated, it is then external to the individual, so the problem is seen to be not the individual but the behavior.

This externalization of an internal stress or by the creation of art allows both the therapist and the client to better address the problem. The therapist gains greater knowledge of the problem because the client uses metaphor and narrative to explain it. The art image allows clients to distance themselves from their own dilemma and, in that manner, work with the therapist toward alternative solutions to a problem.

The emergence of an image is an extension of the processes of memory and conceptualization. Imagery introduces metaphorical language and personalized communication. Visual representations concentrate meaning into a tangible form that conveys the entire scope of a situation.

Acknowledgement – Shirley Riley, 1 Phillips Graduate Institute, 3445 Balboa Blvd, Encino, CA 91316

Web design by GroundVision