Art is so much more than paint on canvas. It is a way to express yourself, to unleash creativity and break the shackles of how we see the world. But it is also a fantastic medium to channel your thoughts.
To mark National Grief Awareness Week, Rich Simmons opens up about the benefits of art therapy and how it can improve your mental health.
What is art therapy?
I started the non-profit organisation Art is the Cure in 2008 with one goal in mind – to show the world how creativity can be used as a release.
I have found myself struggling in the past. Facing the decision to bottle things up or to turn to negative behaviours, I instead turned to drawing and painting to escape the pain. Art became my cure.
Art therapy is about your creation meaning more than what you see in galleries. It’s about using your inner creativity to face adversity head on.
It is not a diagnostic tool, but instead a channel to express emotional issues through the medium of art.
Be it emotional, neurological or physical illness, art can serve as the release so many desperately need.
We’ve all lost someone and we all cope in different ways. If you are finding it difficult to express yourself, trying using creativity to release your thoughts.
How does it work?
There are some things people cannot say in words, some things that may be too raw or distressing. But self-awareness and self-confidence can be built through art.
Art therapy provides a secure environment allowing people to express themselves and their thoughts – be it through painting, drawing or sculpturing. It could even be through music, cooking or dance.
A form of psychotherapy, art therapists are trained to help people explore self-expression, to gain personal insight and build new coping skills.
Do you have to be artistic to take part?
Art therapy is about expression – not about skillsets or talent. It is open to people of all ages and is something children, adolescents and adults alike can benefit from.
The sessions are not art classes, there are no lesson plans or techniques to master. They simply give people the opportunity to express their feelings in a space free from judgement.
Art is the Cure has helped countless people discover the benefits of creative therapy through its school sessions, workshops and meet ups.
For more information on Art Is The Cure and how art therapy can help you, visit our website: www.artisthecure.org.