Art is a natural impulse for children as they learn, however, a lot of people have horrible stories about when they quit doing art.
But, art therapy is different.
In art therapy we work on releasing ourselves from the inner critic, from perfectionism, and from expectations on what the outcome is going to be. We release the should’s, I ought to’s, the have to’s, and how we think other people are going to respond.
The art therapy studio is a place to experiment, play, take risks, and practice being assertive and bold. This is the kind of work done with a therapist as well. I have a couple of “rules” in art therapy that go like this:
- You don’t have to follow directions. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
- You’re allowed to disagree with me. (and I want you to practice assertion with me!)
- Practicing self-compassion. If we are trying to release perfectionism and self-criticism, I have my clients practice being kind about what they say about themselves, their art ability, and their artwork. Anyway, how do you learn anything if you’re afraid of making mistakes as you get better and experiment?
Art making can be playful. Some of the best new ideas come from a spirit of childlike playfulness. This is getting in touch with the archetype of the eternal child as well as that natural impulse I was mentioning earlier for creativity.
If you want to change anything about your life or about yourself, you must do something new. This is, in its very essence, the nature of creation— thus, creativity.