By our therapist, Victoria, for Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2017
‘The process of art therapy is based on the recognition that man’s most fundamental thoughts and feelings, derived from the unconscious, reach expression in images rather than words’ – Naumburg
We can communicate non-verbally through art: creating a sculpture, making a mark on paper, using miniature objects in the sandtray; creating art gives concrete form to our feelings, which more often than not are unconscious.
For some clients, particularly at the beginning of art therapy, making the first mark (on paper) can at times be very difficult. Unfortunately we live our lives in a very judgemental society, where we are surrounded and bombarded with images on our phones, TV’s, posters, cinemas, shop fronts, digital advertising screens and computers, etc.
We project onto these images. We make judgements about these images. So when it comes to creating our own art we may become very self critical: What if it doesn’t look good? What if it isn’t right?
The creative arts process is not about judging art; it is about self-exploration through play and creativity, and the expression of our feelings through imagery.
Even when client gives me a blank piece of paper at the end of an art therapy session is ‘showing’ me something about her feelings, her experience of being in the world.