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

FB_IMG_1494603811917
Self-destruction in clay form

15/05/2017

20170515_134632
Emotional pain exploding from the head, tarnishing the world
20170617_120940
Just flowers!
20170617_121022
My internal world

19/05/2017

FB_IMG_1495217036859
Mess, confusion, confliction – walled in by pain and darkness
20170519_115009
The mess and confusion of my internal world
FB_IMG_1495217040042
Playing with painting with my fingers on a very large scale
FB_IMG_1495217043547
A session’s work

22/5/2017

FB_IMG_1495529866597
The monster in my head
20170522_144611
Hand for scale of the monster in my head

02/06/2017

20170602_113123
My internal world: pain, fear, overwhelming thoughts & emotions, and torment – spreading and tarnishing the world around me

12/06/2017

20170612_140528
Playing to make a pretty mess
20170612_150321
Close up of a pretty mess
20170612_150330
Close up of a pretty mess
20170612_150325
Close up of a pretty mess
20170612_150018
My world: cold darkness externally enshrouding internal explosions
20170612_150023
Pretty, though…

20170612_150034

20170616_111948
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…!

Advertisements

What Does a Session of Relationally-Oriented Integrated Therapy Look Like?

I’ll be honest, I’ve no idea what my 60 sessions of ‘Relationally-Oriented Integrated Therapy’ will look like – and my psychologist doesn’t really, either, as that’s sort of the point. We focus on the relationship, the many intricacies of what has built me/my struggles, and on what comes up in order to work on very… Continue reading What Does a Session of Relationally-Oriented Integrated Therapy Look Like?

The tricky subject of ‘like’ in mental health care

I’ve been concerned by comments from some mental health professionals about myself and others both within and under the care of mental health teams – at the insinuation of feelings of ‘liking’ or ‘disliking’ each other from the perspective of both the patients and professionals in question, and the importance that this is given. If… Continue reading The tricky subject of ‘like’ in mental health care

The Real Superheroes 

The real superheroes don’t wear capes or masks, there are no lights shone into the sky for them, and their extraordinary achievements don’t get splashed all over the media. The real superheroes save lives, but in ways that go almost unnoticed or are greatly undervalued. They are nurses, doctors, social workers, healthcare assistants, psychologists, teachers,… Continue reading The Real Superheroes 

The Therapy Session I Almost Walked Out Of

I am renowned,  both personally and with those who look after my health, for being incredibly calm, compliant, patient and willing to try everything. But today I thought that might all change. I approached this session, as I do most, with intense apprehension: even after 3 months,  I still don’t really have a feel for… Continue reading The Therapy Session I Almost Walked Out Of

“I’ve done everything wrong this week”

“I’ve done everything wrong this week” – That’s how I started today’s therapy session. And I believed it. Everything has gone to pot and I thought it was my fault (a huge part of me still does). I’m not trying hard enough, I’m not getting anywhere, I’m not functioning in the slightest, bad coping mechanisms… Continue reading “I’ve done everything wrong this week”