What a Month of My Art Therapy Looks Like

Art therapy for me is a valuable and unique way of experiencing and expressing my thoughts, feelings and emotions – and sometimes a rare chance to just be a bit playful or make something a bit pretty, depending on what is going on for me at the time. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a month’s worth of sessions (once or twice weekly, depending on bank holidays and the therapist’s leave) which come to an end on Monday so I thought now was a good opportunity to reflect upon what I’ve created over the past month.

From the start of this batch of sessions, the Art Psychotherapist, who has worked with me before, decided that a great project for me would be for me to try to test out creating very large, free, uncontrolled pieces where possible as I tend to let perfectionism and anxiety hold me back into creating very small and controlled pieces rather than letting my time in art therapy tap into the more raw emotions. We’ve both been pleased with the results of this project and the difference we have noticed in me whilst I create these pieces. It has been freeing and a completely new experience for me.

So, what have I done? Below is a taster. Most of these are created on A2 or A1 paper, mainly using paint (whether that me using standard brushes, rollers, sponges, fingers, or even squirting straight from the bottle), but sometimes using pens or pastels or a mix of media. Some of it is much more a reflection of my internal state whilst others were more about trying to be a bit playful and have some fun. I hope this gives some insight into what Art Therapy can look like.

12/05/2017

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Self-destruction in clay form

15/05/2017

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Emotional pain exploding from the head, tarnishing the world
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Just flowers!
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My internal world

19/05/2017

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Mess, confusion, confliction – walled in by pain and darkness
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The mess and confusion of my internal world
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Playing with painting with my fingers on a very large scale
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A session’s work

22/5/2017

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The monster in my head
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Hand for scale of the monster in my head

02/06/2017

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My internal world: pain, fear, overwhelming thoughts & emotions, and torment – spreading and tarnishing the world around me

12/06/2017

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Playing to make a pretty mess
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Close up of a pretty mess
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Close up of a pretty mess
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Close up of a pretty mess
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My world: cold darkness externally enshrouding internal explosions
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Pretty, though…

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The suicide monster with a tiny me in its grips

I’d really recommend anyone who has the opportunity gives art therapy a go; it is nothing to do with ‘Art’ or ‘talent’ or ‘ability’ but about connecting to and expressing your thoughts/feelings/emotions or being a bit playful at times when that feels impossible. I hadn’t done any kind of art since the start of secondary school (and even then that was begrudgingly) when I first tried art therapy, and believe me I was beyond sceptical, but look at all that is has sparked in me since…!

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Metaphorically Dumping Guilt and Self-Hatred

Following a conversation yesterday about the fact that it will likely be guilt that’s the final nail in the coffin (sorry for the dark pun) towards my suicide, the crisis team manager went searching for some boulders for me. Today she turned up hauling these with her and together we wrote ‘GUILT’ and ‘SELF-HATRED’ on them then metaphorically dumped them outside. 

I thought this was a wonderful gesture, some amazing ouside-the-box thinking by an already stretched mental health professional, and a great idea. Definitely well worth a try!

Let’s hope even part of those torturously heavy boulders can stay out there. 

When Getting Support Doesn’t Feel Safe

I had a therapy session today that I don’t know whether to describe as a good or bad: I had an awful time, explored some very painful things, discussed extreme hopelessness, cried non-stop (which I never do when people can see) and shook violently with fear but my psychologist was amazing. From the moment I… Continue reading When Getting Support Doesn’t Feel Safe

Professionals’ Feelings in Therapeutic Relationships

It’s my birthday tomorrow (probably today by the time I’ve finished typing this!) and this, as well as a bunch of other very complicated factors, has triggered (or, more accurately, heightened) a significant mental health crisis for me for complex and somewhat twisted ways. I’ve been fortunate in that some more intensive support was put… Continue reading Professionals’ Feelings in Therapeutic Relationships

Writing Through the Gloom

The horrors of the world are overwhelming at the moment and, although earlier I had planned to write about how I’m entirely failing to cope, I now feel guilty commenting on the extent of my current despairing struggles which pale in comparison to the realities of terror experienced by so many right now. My thoughts and love are with all affected.

So, instead, I’ll share a little experiment of mine: a first attempt at creative writing encouraged by a member of the crisis team tonight (fair warning: it’s no masterpiece and could have been written by a 10 year old! But at least I attempted some creative escapism)…

It’s just something silly at a time I thought we all could probably do with exactly that, so please don’t judge! 

Cautious, Guilt-Ridden Gratitude (and the O word that shall not be named)

Oh the complexities of very poorly brains. Guess what? I have news – good things – that should make me want to dance or at least crack a little smile, but instead I am riddled with guilt…wishing that I could sacrifice myself and give others – the dozens of others that I know personally, the… Continue reading Cautious, Guilt-Ridden Gratitude (and the O word that shall not be named)