I’m not an artist by any means… Art isn’t only for artists. 😉
Art is beneficial for many aspects of life; Such as building creativity into one’s life and exercising the brain chemicals to help with long term memory and agility. Art is an amazing “healing” technique and that’s why art therapy is an actual psychology field. I’ve never learned much about art therapy, but it is a technique I use with clients occasionally. Especially, the clients who are naturally artistic.
Art is a wonderful coping skills for feelings of stress, trauma, anxiety, and depression. The act of creating actually shuts down the “amygdala – the flight or fight region of our brain, which when triggered sends adrenaline and epinephrine through the brain ensuring we remain stressed, tense, flooded, and anxious”. Art therapy shuts down the amygdala’s adrenaline rush and allows the prefrontal cortex to take back control, which calms naturally calms the nervous system. The process of art therapy allows participants to begin the process of healing, as it calms down the stress response in the brain. Art therapy is a wonderful way to help clients communicate when the words are too painful and their story is trapped beneath layers of brokenness and hurt. I’ve had clients create dances to help
process pain and trauma and to write songs. Many different types of art can be healing for the soul.
Art was created by God and taught extensively throughout scripture.
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 ESV —-
God is the creator of us, His children. We are the clay and He is the potter, he so beautifully and wonderfully created each one of us.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1 NIV
He creates a beautiful sunrise and sunset every single day! God knew art and beauty would be healing and thus, He created the beauty of the sky.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 ESV
God tells us to think and ponder about things that are beautiful and good. It’s like he knew “beauty and goodness” would be an tremendous Avenue for healing? Hint of Sarcasm 😉
Our family has endured a difficult and heart breaking situation and my Sweet Caroline still struggles and is having a hard time communicating her hurt in words. She’s 11 and this is quite normal for little ones. Therefore, God placed it on my heart to begin doing art with her and we’re going to begin painting as a way to achieve further healing. This is the first of many painting sessions to come. I am thankful for the gift of God and my sweet family. This little one is my best friend and I’m grateful for the special mother/daughter bond we share. She told me this evening as we painted and looking into my eyes, “Mom, I really like painting with you!” #bestillmyheart
*After completing my first painting, I observed my less than stellar art work and looked for meaning; I noticed the darkness of the tree / bush and the pops of color popping up behind and some have broken through. This painting is a fairly good depiction of my spirit – A difficult situation has created brokenness and pain in my spirit, but the joy is coming back and there is tremendous hope ahead in our future.
Trauma threatens our ability to see beauty and makes the world and everything in it feel dark and scary ~ But through Christ we have the promise of healing and that all will be made new. For this I am grateful!
Friends, if you’re struggling to overcome hardship, trauma, or finding yourself anxious and overwhelmed. Try taking up some form of art ~ painting, knitting, drawing, coloring, dance, writing, etc. I can almost guarantee it will help you feel better!
Crystal Ridlon, LMHC, LPC
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