My first attempt at therapy was incredibly uncomfortable. I sat in a gray room, cowering in intimidation as a total stranger rapidly fired questions my way. The questions made me feel incredibly uncomfortable and ashamed, mainly because I was not quite ready to share all (especially to a complete stranger). I left the room feeling crazy and misunderstood.
Ever heard the saying, “One bad experience can spoil a lifetime of loyalty?” Needless to say, I never came back. My search for a solution to my depression abruptly stopped over the next few years.
But on Monday, my hope was restored after attending “There is Healing in Art” Creative Fair sponsored by Chicago's Department of Human Services.
All of the art was created by individuals who live with mental health disorders and depicts a diverse range of mental disorders from anxiety all the way to bipolar disorder.
Vickie Marasco, Founder of The Art Impact Project, asked her girls youth group to consider the power of words and emotions through the “Feather Project”. The girls were asked to paint background with watercolor paints, explore new words to depict their feelings, and discuss the meaning behind their work.
Vickie recalls that the most compelling part of the exercise was when the young girls were able to share what their word meant while working through their emotions during the discussion.
Art is quickly becoming a popular method towards building stronger emotional and mental wellness .
So, what exactly is art therapy?
In short, a therapeutic way in which individuals use the creative process and the resulting artwork to explore feelings, deal with emotional conflicts, work through issues, and improve overall self esteem. It is being used as an method to relieve depression, trauma disorders, and other emotional and mental disorders. The key goal of art therapy is to restore an individual's emotional well-being.
At the end of the event, I felt relieved knowing that I had options for treating my mental health. There are many alternatives to the traditional method of therapy and seeking help should never make you feel ashamed. Do not let the stigma associated with counseling deter you from getting assistance that you need. This month commit to finding your perfect solution on your journey to mental and emotional wellness.
For more information on art therapy, please visit GoodTherapy.org
What alternative forms of therapy have you tried? Share your experience in the comment section below.