Sunday, 8 February 2015

Special Request

As I prepared a special request this week I began to think about how art therapy functions. In particular what it needs to function. Does it need to occur in a clinical setting to be valid? Does it need to be performed by the person looking for the outcome or can you practice art therapy by looking at and acquiring art? 

I really appreciate the value of therapy and would love to try formal art therapy but like many other spoonies it is both geographically and financially unavailable. But that doesn't mean that I cannot participate and experience real benefits by working on my own at home. I am already gaining new insights from the first chapter of The Art Therapy Sourcebook into how formal art therapy can help me and many others with chronic pain and illness.

If working on a drawing or craft project when I am in extra pain, fatigued or emotionally 
exhausted makes me feel validated as a person, then I believe that self administered art therapy is an effective tool for pain management. Whether that pain is physical or emotional. 

Last week I wrote for The Wolf and Me, where I spoke about my favourite kind of project and that is what I have for you today. 

I'd like you to meet Rose. She used to belong to a friend who had to give her up because of their illness. Loss is a part of everyone's life but it becomes more prominent in the lives of those of us with chronic illness.

This project has helped me look more honestly at the things that I have lost due to CRPS 
and evaluate those things that I still need to learn to accept. There are many. Some I was 
aware of and understand but many new things I wasn't acquainted with before embarking 
on this request. What this really demonstrates for me is that art therapy can occur successfully outside of a clinical setting. I had no idea that any of this would crop up for me, I thought I was going to draw a horse and do a nice thing for a friend, but instead my brain woke up and I found old parts of myself that I hadn't realised were lost to me.

So I am now faced with the task of working through these new ideas and I will share these along with the insights I have gained so far from reading The Art Therapy Sourcebook over the next few posts.  
soft pastels and charcoal on tan toned paper, 148 x 210mm, 2015

I hope that it also helps Rose's owner who I'm sure must miss her very much. I truly believe that art has great potential for healing. Whether that means making it yourself, enjoying some art appreciation in a book or at a gallery or requesting a personal and meaningful commission from an artist. 

Art therapy is a complicated and long process and of course formal art therapy would be advantageous, but if self administered art therapy is all you got, then get in there. Take out your pencils, open a book and just go for it, as I found out this week, you never really know what you'll find out about yourself. 

Until next time lovely readers, stay creative and leave your requests below xo. 

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