What is Art Therapy? Is it those adult coloring books everyone talks about? Well, it could be. There are many different ways to receive the therapeutic effects through art. Each approach out there has its own twist and set of benefits. Art therapy has been used in many different platforms and for several different purposes. A child psychologist may use art to get a glimpse into their littlest patients who may not know how to communicate certain things verbally. At a cancer ward, it may be used to distract patients from their current situation and liven up their day. At a retirement home, it may be a more unstructured creative activity. Whatever setting and purpose, there are many benefits to experiencing Art Therapy. At Valerian Healing Arts they've combined their extensive knowledge in Art, Hypnosis, dreams, symbolism and metaphors to unlock and record messages directly to and from the depths of your subconscious mind. Sounds mysterious enough? How, you may be thinking right about now, would this benefit me? I cannot speak for all Art Therapy out there in the world as each version differs from the next so I will speak of how we do Art Therapy at Valerian Healing Arts. So, to paint a picture of what Art Therapy sessions look like at Valerian Healing Arts, we start the group sessions with a quick “Art 101” for those who may have not picked a paintbrush since their childhood to feel more at ease with the painting process. We then get comfortable and begin the hypnosis part of the session in which we focus on the topic of the session. Each session we focus on a different theme such as: self-empowerment, overcoming cancer, forgiveness, etc. After the guided hypnosis session, you then go to your canvas and paint whatever it is that came to you during the hypnosis. We then analyze the painting and decode all of the messages from your subconscious mind that may appear in the painting. You then get to take your masterpiece home and reinforce the messages received in that session simply by noticing the painting on your walls. Interesting enough, but what are the main benefits? Here are the top 7:
Stress relief- During the hypnosis, you are guided into a short, yet deep level of relaxation, allowing you to let go of any stress, tension and anxiety that you may be carrying on your shoulders.
Joy- Painting has been shown to release oxytocin and endorphins (those feel-good, happy hormones). Being in good company, allowing your right brain to come out and express itself is something many of us don't get to do very often so when we do, its like going to Disneyland!
Inner child plays- What better than to allow your inner child come out and play? Painting brings out that part in you; that part that just loved coloring, drawing, painting, and creating in the most expressive and purest form.
Clarity- There is a part of us that knows the answers to those questions of “why is this happening?” “why am I doing this?” and “why am I feeling this way?” Well, that part that knows the answers is your subconscious mind. One of the ways our subconscious mind gets to communicate to our conscious selves is through dreams. Through the metaphors and symbolism of those dreams, we can decipher what our subconscious minds are trying to tell us. These messages appear in your paintings so you get to peek into the subconscious mind and receive some clarity to some questions you may have.
Meditation- Being immersed in your painting allows you to get into a meditative state where everything in and around you takes a back seat and its just you and the images that emerges from the canvas. No bills to worry about, no kids, work, ailments... it all leaves your mind for a couple of hours. Sounds like pure bliss, doesn't it?
Goal reaching- Whatever the topic of the session is, Art Therapy allows you to reach your goals. Whether your goal is to feel more confident in your life or to get rid of a tumor, Art Therapy sends that message directly to your subconscious mind and allows it to translate the message and send the appropriate message to the rest of your body.
Artwork- At the end of the day, you get a beautifully meaningful piece of art to be proud to hang on the wall to remind yourself of the importance of the messages of that session. Of course, there are many more benefits to these sessions but that is up to you to decide. Whatever reasons stand out for you, it is definitely a magical experience with incredible benefits to every single person who does Art Therapy at Valerian Healing Arts.