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Six Ways Art Therapy Helps

Some things are difficult to express in words; trauma, difficult feeling, feelings of ambivalence, or conflicting and confusing emotions are often difficult to put into words. The highs and lows of bipolar come with a unique set of challenges; yet there is more to finding balance than just managing cycles of mania and depression. Art therapy can provide and individual a way to process thoughts, feelings and emotions that he or she cannot sort out in their mind or through talking alone.

As human beings who experience the full range of emotions, a person who lives with the challenges of bipolar disorder may also experience intense emotions that are not due to the mood swings of the disorder, but from painful experiences as well. Many suffers experiences feelings of alienation, experience abuse from others, and/or have experienced severe emotional trauma. Sometimes, trauma, or severe emotional disturbances, imbalances, or intense emotional responses to events are very difficult to articulate. This can result in an individual “holding it in”, while functioning as best he or she can. This in turn can result in anxiety, or tension and the sense that one has “pent up” anger, sadness, and fear, feelings of guilt and remorse, or guilt.

Art therapy has a way of helping a person reach into their own heart of hearts, behind the veil of the rational mind, and gently pulling out thoughts, feelings, understanding, and ideas of a person who may have dissociated from their own feelings and emotions. An Art Therapist is a professional that has acquired expertise in using art modalities including painting, drawing, sculpture, and other art forms. The Art Therapist has a professional degree that includes human development psychology and therapy with expertise on how to use art as a medium of therapeutic healing. As you work with a professional Art Therapist, the Art Therapist is trained to pick up on subtle clues, symbols, and metaphors in your work and can facilitate your self- awareness while helping you work through trauma, indecision, and emotional conflict.

Six Ways Art Therapy Helps

1. Process Emotions: Art therapy can help you more than mange your emotions; by working with your emotions and evoking the “message” behind them, bringing them out symbolically in your work, you can heal your core emotions and connect with your emotional balance.

2. Consolidate Thoughts: If you have experienced confusion, indecision, or overload, art therapy can help you process and consolidate your thoughts and help you to feel “clear”.

3. Increase State of Relaxation: Art therapy can alter your state of consciousness and induce a state of relaxation. This can facilitate rejuvenation.

4. Reduce Anxiety: By working through core issues and inner conflicts through art therapy, a person can greatly reduce his or her anxiety.

5. Heal core issues: Art therapy can help to safely and gently bring out a person core issues that result for trauma, and thought he process can help the person heal his or herself. This process will naturally also help the person to balance his or her emotions as core issues are brought to light and worked through.

6. Keeping Moods and Emotions in Balance: A person who experiences mood swings as a result of bipolar, and or emotional issues related to the effects of bipolar will be able to use Art Therapy Exercises to help “reset” and to maintain balance.

Below are some links to help you explore further and learn more:

http://www.expressiveartworkshops.com/expressive-artists/100-art-therapy-exercises/

http://www.arttherapyblog.com/art-therapy-benefits/#.Vce_4flViko

http://www.arttherapy.org/upload/whatisarttherapy.pdf

Photo by MattysFlicks