A Balancing Act : Reminder, Art Therapy Works!

I am reminded of the power of art therapy today.

Do you ever have days or even weeks when you feel like you are just going through the motions. Working at an agency and trying to do art therapy but feeling like there is something missing in your creative process with clients. I think a lot of us feel that way. I as an art therapist, don’t really fit the mold of most counseling jobs. I was trained as though I would have an hour or more with every client , that most if not all clients would WANT to participate, and I always hoped that every art making experience would be just that, an experience, not just an intervention or a directed “cookie cutter” approach. I still have these seemingly Idealistic goals and desires but in the world of medical management I don’t always get to be the art therapist I want to be. Sometimes I have to try fit in a different mold.

HOWEVER, Days like today remind me that the art and the process speak for themselves.  That for some clients, on the right day and time, 20-30 min and some art materials is all they need to have a powerful and meaningful art therapy experience. I am their guide but they know the way and the art will take them there.

I had a young client come into my office today. Recent sessions have been elevated, hurried, and filled with loosely connected verbalizations, to say the least. Today looked the same until the client walked in and grabbed a piece of paper, a pencil and a compass. The client barely said a word, sat down and began experimenting with the compass. At first the client needed some support but not much, My role was the third hand, but quickly I had to step back and let the client go. The client was focused and it was almost like I could see the wheels turning in the clients head. Twenty Five minutes went by with few verbalizations and all art making.  As the clients image began to form I saw a radial image, mandala like, appear. The client was creating their own structure! Their own container! Seemingly seeking power and focus, and I could see the effects in the clients behavior. The client was transformed in that moment even if the change was short lived, I could see that the possibility was there. I could see the art process working and I was reminded of the power of art therapy. Even in this small instance I was reminded that I can be idealistic and I can expect the art process to be powerful and meaningful because it is! Even on the days we don’t see it clearly. Art Therapy Works!!


One response to “A Balancing Act : Reminder, Art Therapy Works!

  1. Ah, yes. I know this feeling well! It seems as if you are doing the same old, same old CBT every session and then….Something magical happens! I love your description of the session. How inspiring! Glad this client has a space to safely create a container for their feelings. Yay, you and yay for them!
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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