My Art as Therapy

Life can be stressful these days, huh?

Anxiety was once something other people suffered from, right?

Mental health and wellbeing may be buzz words right now but gosh now is the time to start (if you aren’t already) to pay attention to looking after our own mental health.

And these last couple of years I have come to realise that one of my passions – making stuff, art, creativity, is less about the end product and way more about the journey and the therapy of the process.

I realised that I actually use my art as THERAPY.

There, I’ve said it!

And by analysing the benefits I get from my art as therapy, I thought I would start to share my journey and maybe encourage you to develop your own art as therapy.

Now I have to be clear here. I am not an Art Therapist. I am not trained as or qualified to support those people needing skilled professional support.

But, I do have a background in healthcare – I am a registered nurse both RGN and RSCN. I have worked in education as a teaching assistant and hold the NNEB qualification. I have a FdA in Fine Art and Diploma in Art and Design and a lifetime of art practice. I have also completed numerous short courses on subjects including art therapy, mindfulness and life counselling.

And I know what has worked for me.

But “its ok for you” I hear you say, “you are already artistic!”

Well, yes maybe I am, but in some people’s eyes maybe I’m not!

But does that matter?

I don’t think it does.

We are all creative. That’s what humans are. That’s what people do!

Until someone tells you “you can’t” or that “you’re not”.
And this is where it starts to un-ravel (or should it be, gets tied up in knots?).

Either way, quite a lot of us have art scars from childhood that have restricted us into adult life.

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston who has spent the last 20 years studying courage, vulnerablilty, shame and empathy.

While doing shame research she found that 85% of men and women interviewed could recall a school incident from their childhood that was so shaming it changed how they thought of themselves as learners and half of those recollections were what she describes as creativity scars.

Participants could point to a specific incident when they were told or shown they weren’t good enough artists, writers, musicians, dancers or another form of arts.

That sucks right?

Creating gives us a sense of meaning and fulfillment, but few of us actually utilize our creativity.

So I’m on a mission to help people start to enjoy creating and re-discover that inner child who loved colouring or painting or cutting and sticking.

To help give you permission to create and play for the sake of it.

To start to use art as therapy and not be hung up about the end result.

As part of my creativity I have started to video how I make some of my art. Not fully intended as how to’s but more as, if I can do this then so can you!

I look forward to us travelling together on our art therapy journey.

Helen Houghton on YouTube

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