My curiosity led me to look a little deeper into the practice of art therapy and I learned how it can be effectively used to help with anxiety, depression and stress.
Art therapy was a foreign concept to me until I started volunteering at senior homes that frequently brought in art therapists to work on projects with the seniors. I would watch the seniors draw, paint and make beautiful art pieces. My curiosity led me to look a little deeper into the practice of art therapy and I learned how it can be effectively used to help with anxiety, depression and stress. During this process, I came across a Youtube channel called Thirsty for Art which posts amazing content on the topic of art therapy and even shares projects, and walks viewers through therapy sessions. This month, I decided to follow one of the videos, and I wanted to share my experience!
The video starts with the art therapists leading the viewer through a breathing exercise. I really enjoyed taking the time to get into tune with myself and allowing myself to feel and understand my thoughts and emotions. In the video, she used oil pastels for the drawing, but I decided to go with watercolour pencil crayons instead. Any materials can be used, as long as you’re able to express your emotions in different colours and shapes. The exercise asks viewers to imagine their anxiety as something physical and then to draw out how it would look in different colours or shapes within a circle. Before starting this session, I was worried about how neat my circle would look, or how the colours would blend together. I soon realized that the point of this session was to be fully vulnerable and accepting of any imperfections.
I found the video and session to be very calming and therapeutic. The music in the background and the voice of the art therapist guiding you during the session made it an enjoyable experience. I was able to take time to myself and think about what has been causing me to feel anxious or stressed recently. After the art therapy session, I felt energized and I took a moment to write about my painting, and reflected on my thought process for the painting. On the Thirsty for Art channel, there is a separate video which teaches you how to analyze your art which I found very amusing and helpful, so I would definitely recommend watching that too if you want to get a better sense of what your drawing could mean from an art therapist’s point of view!
Here is the link to the video:
Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.