Making art is very therapeutic. Even if it’s something as silly as the ‘nature man’ I made tonight.
I’ve had a very long day: volunteer dog walking at the SPCA with my mom in the rain, driving an hour and a half back to Toronto, yelling at Rogers on the phone for half an hour because they keep messing up the billing for my internet, rushing to work and working until after midnight – all with a wonderful cold that makes my nose feel stuffed and runny at the same time. But my little art therapy project seemed to make it all a little better.
It started because I collected objects from nature while out walking with my mom and the dogs. I was determined to make some sort of brilliant creation with them. However, my brain really wanted to make a silly man and decorate the scene with glitter glue and crayons. It wasn’t really about what I was creating, it was the act of creating it. It was the act of using the creative side of my brain, concentrating on creation, colour and form. Although the result is a little bit embarrassing for a thirty year-old woman, I feel better having done it.
Some advantages of art therapy, according to the Ontario Art Therapy Association website:
• does not rely on language or verbal skills
• may provide an accessible modality for persons with certain disabilities
• offers opportunities to access experiences in a controlled way
• focuses concentration on a single activity, shutting out intrusive thoughts
• encourages creative thinking and risk-taking in a safe environment
• endorses the idea that creativity is inherently therapeutic
• may be less intrusive and yet is capable of releasing strong emotion safely
• creating art can be fun