Arty Farty

Last week I was asked to take part in an art therapy session. My first thought was, what the hell is an art therapy session? I am no artist, haha.

After a little googling on what art therapy was all about, I realised that this was just what I needed.

To be perfectly honest the last few weeks have been a struggle, mentally. And I couldn’t help but feel emotional saying yes to this collaboration. Can you tell that my hormones have been such a mess?

I have recently decided to go cold turkey on my anxiety medication. Effexor—if you’re wondering—along with contraception. Don’t worry, I am not trying for a child, but I just want to have a break from meds, as there seems to be a tablet for everything these days.

As I haven’t had the best track record with counselling or medication, I thought I’d give it a go for the sake of my blog and sanity.

My art therapy session took place in the comfort of my own home, facilitated by Dalit Bar, a qualified therapist and counsellor who has worked in the field for the past eight years. Usually, when I meet a councillor for the first time I can feel quite intimidated. But Dalit was very approachable, and I felt very at ease in her company.

After a brief on what would be happening in the session, it was time to take part in this exercise. I felt like I was back at school with a big piece of paper, and paint and crayons and pencils—you name it.

I personally can’t stop and sit still—that’s why I haven’t mastered meditation. This art therapy session was a struggle for me to not have my eyes open, or have phone in hand. But I got through this exercise, focusing on the sound of Dalit’s voice, along with calming background music.

I had to imagine a rose bush or any plant or flower, picture it as clearly as I could in my mind. I felt quite calm.  Then it was time for the fun part—drawing! Please note that you do not have to be an artist to take part in art therapy. I’m a stick-figure drawing kind of girl.

When I opened my eyes, Dalit asked me some questions regarding the rose bush. I didn’t see a rose bush, but I did see a palm, which I drew (see below).

Not bad for a non-artist, haha.

When I look at this palm tree, I see a strong woman who stands alone in the toughest of times. But better, brighter sunny days are coming.

I basically drew everything I visualised when my eyes were closed—blue, sunny skies, water and a palm.

We branched out to discuss a few other deeper issues, which left me a little shaken and emotional, but in a good way.

I also took part in another drawing activity for when I feel ‘anger’, as that’s my main issue, if you wanna get real deep. I really loved this little book. I drew pictures and wrote a sentence and have blank pages to add to my little creative book of calmness and reminders Ima name it.

I guess I already know most of what Dalit is advising—to better my mental health. But sometimes you just need a reminder from someone who isn’t a family member or a friend.

How did I feel after this session?

I’m feeling hopeful, and I just need to remember to be kinder to myself. I would love to see Dalit again in the near future for another session to explore my emotions in a creative way.

Has anyone else tried art therapy? For more information please visit Mindsight Counselling here.

Editing by Geraldine Stallard.