Art Making is a Process of Healing and Growth

Art making as a Process of Healing and Growth
Jo Ann Kaminsky

When a person enters the altered state of creative expression, many things happen. The artist (any person making art) enters the timeless dream space where the right brain can use powers that are inaccessible during everyday rational activities.

It has been my experience as an artist, art teacher and art therapist, that these creative states that we may enter, can be used for powerful changes in perception, allowing for healing and growth. The act of art making is therapeutic in itself in that it allows a person to enter a trance-like state where there is openness to memories and feelings that are not ordinarily validated. There is an avenue to record for personal visual records, the experiences, feelings and memories accessed. When art is used in therapy, there is structure for healing. Actual changes in the artist’s perception of reality, choices and goals appear to happen. Metaphors may be used without bring out all of the details of an issue and reframing can occur.

When people can begin to visualize and express their issue in line, color, shape or texture, a relationship occurs in the artwork that talks about the relationships in their lives. When we can picture it we can begin to picture it changing. When we can picture a change, we can begin to make it happen. Any person can do this. No previous experience or special talent is necessary. If you can make marks on a page you can express yourself with art.

In art therapy, the client is given the power to explore his or her own strengths and world-view and to develop resources to heal and to grow. The art therapist is trained to offer the client a safe non-judgmental space with all the necessary tools and support to use their creative process to heal. Art therapists have a variety of materials to work with so that the client may develop a concept with a plaster mask, a clay sculpture, water colors, pastels, finger-paints, feathers, collages, etc. this variety allows even more freedom to discover strengths and ways of relating to the world.

Often people are surprised to find that they are feeling very strong emotions. A person could cry or find herself angry or feel very free and joyous as they create. Something very powerful has been touched that could not be reached before. It appears that we can use our intellect to actually keep us from our feelings and sometimes be blocked towards progress.

There are many different ways art therapists can use art in therapy sessions. Some therapists are more directive and others are more client-centered and there are many different healing philosophies. Trust in the art process is a constant with the art therapists. Each therapist has many tales of hope, change and enlightenment that he or she has been allowed to witness. Art therapists are artists, themselves, so they know first hand how a creative experience can be a journey into wholeness.

Jo Ann Kaminsky is an artist, therapist, art teacher, and owner of the Art Experience, a center for expressive arts, healing and growth in Fayetteville, AR. She has a private counseling/art therapy practice, where she sees people individually or in families or groups. She leads a personal growth group for adults using masks as metaphor for change. She is also an Artist-In- Education
Her private office number is 587-1387.

The Art Experience is currently offering open studio in clay for people with some experience in clay. Wheels, clay, handbuilding space and kilns are available for use in a group studio space with flexible hours.
Puppetmaking classes are on Saturdays .

She creates puppets and shows for First Night and Puppets in the Park, as well as other events. You can reach the Art Experience at 479 442-0557