Autism Insights From An Art Therapist

 

Source: thebluediamondgallery.com

 

 

One of the principal trademarks of people with autism spectrum disorders is their difficulty with social and verbal communication.

 

While there are cases wherein people with autism are mainly non-verbal and are unable to facilitate speech to communicate, there are those who have been struggling with language process and the conversion to smooth, relaxed conversation. People with autism may also have problems with body language and faces. As a result, difficulty in telling if someone is being sarcastic or is joking may occur.

 

Art therapists are trained in working one-on-one with children and adults who are on the spectrum so that they may build a broad range of skills in such a way that it can be enhanced, and somehow become more effective than verbal interaction.

 

Source: flickr.com

 

Insights Learned

Art therapists are qualified master’s degree holders and are certified professionals, although not all art therapists have had specific experiences working with autistic children or adults. But those who have shared some vital information on what it’s like when managing people who fall on the spectrum.

 

  1. Art Is A Powerful, Interactive Tool

When words and feelings are hard to express, people can turn to art. According to psychologist Robert Gray, M.A. (Art Therapy),  “Art therapy can be useful for families with children who have autism by creating community through group work activity, exchanging stories, information and strategies. This can assist in development of verbal communication, vocabulary and hence, social interaction.”

For those who have autism, verbal communication is never easy, but just because people with autism are unable to speak, it doesn’t mean they don’t have thoughts and ideas that they want to express. By engaging in art therapy, autistic people can express sorrow, happiness, and even rage. For parents who have children with autism, art can be quite a discovery, as it opens avenues for self-expression that they never knew was possible.

 

  1. Art Therapy Is Not Just Arts And Crafts

Art therapy is not similar to art education. For those who can’t seem to differentiate what basic art is from art therapy, art therapy is a technique that taps into a person’s creative process to enhance and improve physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.

In addition, art therapy targets the core issue quickly and effectively allowing individuals to see the problem from a different and new perspective. Thus, art therapy offers a space for holistic healing while providing an enjoyable, safe, and effective approach,” Rachela Buonincontri, BA, MC, AT, CCC wrote.

The methods used by art therapists are founded on scientific approach and clinical findings. Though the process of general art and art therapy might be similar, the purpose, strategies, and principles are different.

 

  1. Process Outweighs The Outcome

The goal of art therapy is to engross adults and children with autism into expressing what they think or feel through various forms of creative techniques. In art therapy, there is a great deal of emphasis that is focused on the entire process rather than the outcome. Though the result gives therapists and parents or loved ones the awareness of what the person might actually be feeling, the process, however, makes children and adults on the spectrum more expressive and connected with their thoughts and emotions.

 

  1. Art Therapy Regulates Self-Actualization

For children who may not be able to articulate thoughts, sensations, emotions or perceptions, it is one way to convey what may be difficult to express with words,” says Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT. “It is also a sensory-based approach that allows the children to experience themselves and communicate on multiple levels—visual, tactile, kinesthetic and more.”

In growing up, people are taught how to deal with disturbing thoughts and feelings; however, people who have autism find this task quite challenging due to sensory integration complications. This means that things around them, especially those associated with sound or touch, can be magnified or minimized. Art therapy can turn this around and make the person less susceptible to destructive habits like hitting or biting when one is upset and instead choosing to squeeze clay to direct negative energy to inanimate objects without being disruptive of himself or his environment. When sensations make them feel uneasy, they can play with sand or water to help their body adjust and calm down.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Art therapists are mostly experienced in dealing with people, mainly children, who have autism spectrum disorders. In choosing an art therapist, make sure that he or she primarily understands the challenges, issues, and strengths that are specifically associated with the condition.

Getting To Know More About 2 Special Theaters In Branson, Missouri

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If you haven’t been to Branson, Missouri, you should know that it serves as home to two amazing theaters that you may not find elsewhere.

Thunderbird Theater

Thunderbird Theater is a performing arts company situated at the core of the West State Road 76’s Strip in Branson, Missouri. It is the place to go to every time that you wish to forget the noise that’s the music of the new generation. The sounds there will help you remember the old form of rock and roll music at its finest.

What draws people’s attention is the fact that the venue administrators have kept the theater similar to what you may have seen from the 60s movies. Due to this, the visitors can feel what it is like to witness a live performance in a simple cinema house in the past. In addition to that, Thunderbird has a seating capacity of 700. The number is slightly higher than what one can assume by just looking at the arena from the outside. However, it is meant to allow music lovers to enjoy listening to great, old songs through a high-class sound system and under the bright lights. Other than that, the theater serves as a regular show platform for a couple of Branson’s favorite singers, Peter Lemongello and Kitty Kelly. In case you have time, you can see them, as well as various artists performing the hit songs which have taken the entire United States by storm.

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Branson Hall Of Fame Theater

Once you set foot in Missouri’s Branson Mall, it will not take a while before you discover inside the Branson Hall of Fame Theater. It is a performing arts stage that often gets grazed by the presence of various singers, such as Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, and Garth Brooks, to name a few.

In truth, the theater has not been in operation when these individuals captured the hearts of many with their passion for music. Their hit songs, however, are being brought back to life by several impersonators who can imitate not only their voice but also the way they speak, walk, and dress up. The said actors include Bill Chrastil, KB Jacks, and Tracy Lynn De Mille. Each of them possesses the ability to mimic even the mannerisms or nuisances of these celebrities who serve as pillars for diverse music genres. Whereas other fanatics show their unwavering love to the singers by creating collages or playing their songs at any chance, the tribute artists do it in a manner that they can look and sound like the original American idols who, unfortunately, have already gone on to the next life.

Going to the Branson Hall of Fame Theater can change the way you look at museums or art exhibitions that pay homage to some of the most famous vocalists in the entertainment world. Though Hollywood and Vegas have their own sets of impersonators, no one can beat the theater’s exceptional artists when it comes to talent and years of experience.

Final Thoughts

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Places like the Thunderbird Theater and Branson Hall of Fame Theater are hard to come by these days. It is mostly due to the advancements that event coordinators continuously embrace along the way. Such venues offer the audience a rare opportunity to watch different music numbers in a unique setting when you think of it based on how the present-day movie houses appear. Feel free to check them out if ever you come to Branson, Missouri.

Cheers!

Color Theory And Its Effect On Our Physical And Mental States

 

 

Source: pexels.com

 

Was there ever a time when you walked into a room and then suddenly you experienced a shift in your mood?

 

Color Theory

Science has proven that color directly affects a person’s behavior and health.  Some colors can uplift mood, and some colors can make you feel a bit gloomy.

 

That is one reason why alternative therapies have now considered using the concept of color theory or color psychology to help people heal. Colors are believed to affect a person’s physical and mental state.

“The most important thing to know about colors, and our emotional response to them, has to do with colors’ saturation and brightness. Saturation is how pure a color is. Less saturated colors are more grayish, so khaki green is less saturated than kelly green. Brightness is, as you’d expect, basically how light a color seems. Colors that are less saturated but bright, such as a bright sage green, are relaxing, and those that are more saturated and less bright, such as sapphire blues, are more energizing to look at,” explains Sally Agustin, PhD.

 

Listed below can be your guide as to how color affects you and the people around you. But depending on the shades, some effects might change.

 

Purple enhances wisdom, spirituality, and sophistication.   It develops a sense of respect, creates some air of mystery.   Others use the purple color as it represents royalty and wealth and it attracts prosperity.

 

Red is a stimulant, stimulating interest and boosts enthusiasm.   If you come to a party wearing a vibrant red dress, you will unquestionably draw people’s attention.

 

Yellow glows with optimism and happiness.   Yellow creates high energy and enhances our creative thoughts.  The shades of golden yellow invite us to a future that seems to promise something that is positive.

 

Blue represents something that is constant in our lives, like the blue sky and the blue sea.   It also creates some feeling of calmness and serenity.  Blue is a color that is truthful and loyal.   It helps someone focus.   Some shades of blue, however, can seem cold, uncaring, and unappetizing.

 

Pink gives a fun, youthful feeling, something that is exciting, sensual and passionate.  That can be the reason why when a man attempts to convey how passionately he feels for someone; he prefers to give pink flowers.  Pink represents happiness and lightheartedness.

 

Gray is said to be the color of knowledge and wisdom and considered as classic and refined.   It is a color that carries a sense of dignity and authority.

 

Black is the color that is authoritative and powerful and can efficiently evoke intense emotion.  It also represents void and emptiness.

 

White is cleanliness, purity, and neutrality.   A house painted in white seems to represent one happy home.  Your doctor in his white coat is someone who is pleasant to look at.  A bride wearing a pure white gown looks like a happy soul ready to offer herself to someone who deserves her.

 

Source: wikimedia.org

 

Uses Of Color Theory

Marketing and advertising use color theory because they believe that understanding and utilizing the psychological effects of color is a powerful medium to persuade people to buy their products.    Colors can make consumers feel hungry and attract people as they project positive vibes and help encourage trust.

“Color is ubiquitous and is a source of information. People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62-90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone. So, prudent use of colors can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings – positively or negatively – and therefore, to attitude towards certain products,” says Satyendra Singh PhD, a professor from the University of Winnipeg.

Healthcare utilizes color theory in creating an environment that is calm, safe, inspiring, and healing.   In designing hospitals, people consider colors for its psychological effects to stimulate

  • healing
  • motivation
  • efficacy
  • efficiency

 

Source: flickr.com

 

Hospitals commonly use pale blue and green because of their soothing and refreshing effect, which create a relaxing environment that allows the patient to rest and also encourage them to heal faster.

The effects of these colors are not only beneficial for patients but also for exhausted staff and anxious families of patients as well.

 

Color In Our Daily Ordinary Lives

According to Kendra Cherry, MS, “color is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions.” She also adds, “Color can play an important role in conveying information, creating certain moods, and even influencing the decisions people make.”

Color has always been part of our lives.  It is often associated with our emotions.  It creates a sense of nostalgia, stimulates the brain, and brings back memories.

 

Just merely looking at the red color triggers an increased heart rate causing additional adrenaline to be pumped up into our bloodstream.

Science explains why such emotions occur, while to others it remains a mystery.   However we perceive it, we can’t deny the fact that every color has its effect on us that goes beyond our normal color vision, may it be in the positive or negative light.

 

Disassembling The Grand Piano

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Source: pixabay.com

Are you one of those individuals who are wondering how a grand piano became as grandiose as it looks like or how it produces sound? Well, keep on reading this so that you do not have to disassemble one to know such things physically.

As for its sophistication, do not be shocked anymore if its beauty seems never to fade away because every grand piano that we see anywhere passed through the gifted hands of professional craftsmen who then make use of the delicate process to handcraft every piece of it entirely. It is the King of the Instruments that we are talking about, so the expertise of any person who makes a grand piano is of high importance.

Now, about the sound, it will be much better for you and for the entire human world (no pun intended) if you take a look at the parts of a grand piano below.

Case

It is luscious curves on the case of the grand piano that makes it distinct among all the other keyboards invented through time. The craftsmen mold it from a piece of hardwood and isolate it in an enclosed manufacturing area until such time that portions of the grand piano are ready to be pieced together.

Soundboard

The soundboard is the “softie” part of the grand piano because it is usually made out of spruce wood which is a softwood that is known to cause more vibrant tones and thicker frequencies than a hardwood. Because of its softness, it captures the tremors from the treble strings so well and radiates throughout the grand piano. It serves as an asset for the instrument.

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Source: pixabay.com

Frame

The frame is the skeletal part of this instrument. It is usually made out of iron so that it can efficiently hold the tension from the strings. You should know that it is not only the strings that are getting too used when a pianist plays so hard. The frame is useful as well since it is the end receiver of all the pressure coming from the lines.

Strings

The strings used in grand piano are from steel. It is much stronger than iron for the reason that they are in the epicenter of the intense vibrations. Flimsy strings cannot make do for this luxurious instrument. The idea is that the longer the string is, the lower the pitch it produces. The shorter the line is, the higher is the pitch that comes from it.

Action

The action is the “starter of action” for the whole grand piano. It is attached to the keyboard. Thus, when any of those keys are depressed, it sends a signal to the hammers. It allows certain strings to produce a sound.

Pedals

The pedals add more flavors to the sound that the strings are producing. A grand piano usually has three pedals called una corda, sostenuto, and damper, which are located from far left to far right. These are typically used to soften the note, to sustain the currently-depressed notes, and to sustain all notes, respectively.

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Source: pixabay.com

Final Thoughts

Knowing every part of piano matters, especially if you want to learn how to play it. This instrument is no different from a car, in the sense that you need to know the specifications before buying one. Otherwise, you may find yourself with something that you can’t use.

The Art Of Nature Designed To Nurture Us

 

 

Source: pexels.com

 

We may have failed to notice that art is everywhere. Take your time in the morning and breathe in and breathe out. Open your eyes to the beauty of nature’s art. It is, after all, what inspired human-made art. It can also play a significant role in promoting better overall health, and it is the reason why being close to nature gives us a sense of tranquillity and wellness.

If we take our time to appreciate the art of nature, we’ll be able to harness its incredible power of healing and promoting a well-balanced life. It will encourage positivity and happiness which should be the natural state of our being.

“People don’t have to head for the woods to enjoy nature’s restorative effects,” Rachel Kaplan, Ph.D., and Stephen Kaplan, Ph.D., emphasize. They said, “Even a glimpse of nature from a window helps.”

Arts Of Nature That We Didn’t Realize We’re Missing:

Sunrise

Sunrise usually happens between the hour of 5:00 am and 6:00 am. When was the last time you laid eyes on it? Seeing the sun peek in the morning just before everyone is fully awake can give a sense of hope. It is the mark of a new day, and it’s a perfect time to jog or do some exercise to condition the body for the tasks ahead.

Michael Terman, Ph.D., says, “Getting enough light, and at the right time, offers a way of dealing with the problems created by light deprivation. Best of all, the intervention is environmental, not pharmaceutical.”

Sunset

Sunset marks the end of the day. For some, it means resting time after a long day at work. It is the sun saying goodbye for a while and saying, “until tomorrow.” Try going to a place where you’ll be able to view the sun setting. Appreciate the color of the sun fading to darkness. Feel the wind turning cold, and you’ll know it’s a day well spent.

Jia Wei Zhang, Ph.D., found out that,“the positive emotions aroused by natural beauty led to increased prosociality feelings and behaviors characterized by concern for others.”

Rainbow

The rainbow is a magical phenomenon which is caused by the reflection and refraction of light from the sun to the droplets of water from the clouds down to the earth. It creates a magnificent art consisting of different colors painting the sky. Nowadays, we often ignore the rainbow because science has already explained what it is, but show the rainbow to a child and see how his eyes glow with amazement.

Ocean Or Sea

Have you ever been to the beach? Try sitting by the shore and just look at how the water meets the mountains and the sky. It is just like in most paintings. The only difference is that you see a moving masterpiece.

Sky

If you look at the sky, especially around 4:00 pm onwards before sunset, you will notice how blue it is, starting from the darkest shade of blue to the lightest. The color blue gives a sense of calmness and relaxation to the person looking that’s why it is an excellent view to diffuse stress.

Stars

Stargazing is also suitable for our mental health as it provides a peaceful time for our mind to ponder. It improves our comprehension and perspective in life. A person fond of stargazing has a certain depth in his way of thinking.

 

 

Source: pexels.com

 

 

Moon

The moon has been around for quite some time. Some of the people in our history even treated it as their god. Nowadays, only a few people take notice of it. Looking at the moon provides a sense of security. It somehow makes someone feel that they are not alone.

Flowers

Flowers have a variety of colors, and if you look at them in the distance, they sure look like a painting. Holland is famous for having such beautiful flowers that look like a masterpiece when you see them from afar.

In their study, “indoor plants can provide psychological benefits such as stress-reduction and increased pain tolerance.”

 

 

Source: pexels.com

 

Art is undeniably a significant help to our overall health. It aids us in relieving stress, helping people with depression and anxiety. The art of nature is the ultimate masterpiece men can lay eyes upon, but we seldom take it for granted. If you are feeling down and depressed, take your time to look around and appreciate the artistic wonder of nature. After all, it is the best, yet it is free.

 

Knowing Michael Zomber – A Historian, Author, And Producer

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When there is a discussion about weaponry and armors from the 16th up to the 19th century, Michael Zomber is one of the few individuals who could speak at length regarding the subject matter.

Michael Is A Recognized Historian

Due to his passion for collecting antique guns, swords, and protective coverings that were used in the past in Europe, Japan, United States, and Islamic countries, he focused on mastering the history of each item that came to his possession. Zomber appreciated the artistic quality of these arms and found their real value to humanity. He was especially interested in the centuries mentioned above as well for the reason that those were the times when nations developed diverse kinds of armaments that would suit their needs.

This led Michael Zomber to become a contributor in a TV series created for The History Channel. For the show called Tales of the Gun, he appeared as a guest historian in several episodes including (but not limited to) Guns of the Famous, Dueling Pistols, Millionaire Dollar Guns, Guns of the Orient, and Automatic Pistols.

Nevertheless, being a historian is not his sole job description.

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He Is An Author And A Producer

Michael Zomber graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with degrees in both Psychology and English Literature. He later went back to the same campus to obtain a master’s degree for the latter. The wealth of intelligence that he had gotten from years of extensive studying gave him the aptitude to write screenplays, as well as fictional and non-fictional books, which were mostly related to history.

In his first book published in 2009, Shogun Iemitsu, Michael had illustrated his vast knowledge about the Japanese samurais’ antiquity, along with his capability to incorporate romance to the story. The second one, which was entitled Jesus and The Samurai, brought the readers back to that period when China and India were initially introduced to Christianity and on the verge of overpowering Buddhism in Japan. Once again based on historical occurrences, this novel demonstrated the woes and happiness that the Japanese warriors had experienced as they publicly showed their devotion to the new religion.

Michael Zomber also tried his hand at co-producing Soul of the Samurai, a documentary which was designed to maintain and spread information about how the ancient samurais lived. During the movie production, he made sure that all the accouterments that would go to the background setting conformed to the era that they were recreating. Even the armors and swords used in the film were authentic. Zomber took this opportunity to work with the founder of the Aikido Center of Los Angeles, Sensei Kensho Furuya, who had a deep understanding of how a samurai moved.

Final Thoughts

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Michael Zomber may not be as famous as Steven Spielberg or James Cameron, but he is an impressive individual in his own right. He is a published author, a respected historian, and even a movie producer. These are endeavors that not every average Joe will be able to claim. His artistry undoubtedly shows in everything he does, which makes him amazing.

 

Stephen Wiltshire And His Autistic Art

 

Source: hivesociety.com

 

Stephen Wiltshire is one of the most extraordinary artists on the whole planet, and he has autism! His gift is beyond the human mind. He draws from his memory, and it would only require at least 10 minutes to look at a view. He memorizes every tiny detail and brings them to life in just a short period. He started to draw right before he was able to speak at the age of five. Stephen Wiltshire was diagnosed to have autism when he was only three.

Today, Stephen is an outstanding artist known all over the world. He is even called “The Human Camera.” He loves to draw cities, buildings, and landscapes, and he has made a drawing of New York City. It only took him a 45-minute-helicopter ride to have a look at the city and five days to complete his masterpiece. How can that be possible? Is it even possible to memorize every detail of an enormous place and keep it inside one’s head? Stephen’s drawings are so precise that they all have the right number of windows, doors, and pathways of every building!

 

Source: newtonhypnosis.com

 

Does autism contribute to this exceptional gift? Yes, it does! Studies show that the brains of people with autism are created distinctively. The back part of their brain, which is responsible for visual information, is exceptionally developed and advanced compared to other parts of the brain. It explains why people with autism have difficulty with other skills like communication and decision making. They often struggle to express themselves through speaking and gestures but are ingeniously exceptional when it comes to art involving the memory.

“Many people with autism are visual thinkers,” shared Temple Grandin, Ph.D., a psychology assistant professor of Colorado State University. “All my thoughts are like videotapes running in my imagination.”

What Is Art To Stephen Wiltshire?

According to her sister, “Drawing for Stephen is like air and water for us. He cannot live without it.” It is his way of expressing himself and the overwhelming power of his brain. We may not be able to understand how everything he sees flashes back just exactly how he sees them, but Stephen has a way to show it, and it is indeed remarkable!

 

How Did Art Help Stephen Wiltshire?

Stephen was mute and was only able to speak when he was five. Art was his tool to express himself. “This was my form of language,” he said. It is his way to connect with the truth of ordinary people around him.

“Art expressions, particularly drawings, provide useful information on development in children, especially young clients who are 10 years or younger. For example, differences in artistic development can help us understand something about a child’s emotional experiences, cognition and sensory integration—but only up to a point, because most of what has been widely published has been derived from largely Western cultures,” reveals Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT, an art therapist, research psychologist, and author in the fields of art therapy and trauma-informed practice.

Why Is Art Important For People With Autism?

Art is essential for people with autism because it is their way of communication. They struggle with social skills such as interacting effectively with other people. They have a hard time understanding things that are common to us, and they have different ways of reacting to specific situations. Art helps in controlling their anxiety and other eccentric behaviors which can be some of the symptoms of autism.

Blythe A. Corbett, PhD, wrote, “Many people with ASD excel in art and use it as a way to express themselves and share their unique perspective on the world. Some propose that the arts have the potential to nurture talent, reduce stigma, and provide a platform for others to see the ‘ability in ‘disability.’”

Source: parents.com

 

Why Is Autism Important To Art?

People with autism have unique brain functions compared to other people. They have a remarkable way of seeing the world beyond human comprehension. Their brains can perform tasks that are impossible for people without autism.

Stephen Wiltshire is indeed gifted – gifted with autism! And for this, he can let us have a glimpse of the incredible things that happen inside his mind through his extraordinary autistic art.

Art Therapy Projects That You Can Do To De-Stress (Tips From Therapists)

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Art therapy is a form of stress relief and is widely used to encourage creativity at the same time, release negative emotions. It is a form of self-expression that can be fun and therapeutic. It allows an individual to use art as a form of communication that makes this method different from other types of therapy, according to therapists.

“Art therapy as a practice has been shown to help people reduce their stress with regular use. This type of therapy allows people to use different media and the creative process to engage their mind and explore their feelings, and can be practiced informally by yourself or formally with an art therapist,” says Natalia S. David, Psy.D, an Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The best thing about this is that you do not have to be an artist to do this form of art. These exercises do not focus on the product itself but from the therapeutic elements that come with making the art. It is both a meditative ritual and art itself in one activity, and it will boost your mental health in no time.

Design A Postcard.

Writing a love letter that you are scared to say in person or writing all your rants can be therapeutic by itself. The designing process of the postcard gives all the areas of your brain a bit of exercise that will also help in relaxation. And as you throw away or hide the card, you’ll realize that those words will no longer have any effect to you.

Make A Collage.

First, draw or paint on a piece of paper or cardboard. After you have done that, cut or tear your art into smaller pieces and make another artwork in the form of a collage. This helps you practice the art of creation and destruction and the beauty in combining the two aspects. This shows that in life, there comes a time where you only see the damage and see the beauty that comes with it and how you can start from that destruction and make it into a work of art.

Create An Altar.

This is a project you can make to commemorate a relationship with a loved one, alive or dead. You can do any design you want and add pieces that remind you of the love you both share. It helps you relive memories that you two enjoyed and remind you to always choose love in times where you are in doubt.

Draw In The Dark.

Sometimes, the reason why we get scared of doing something is that we always think we get judged, and instead of continuing, we only have self-doubt. Drawing in the dark liberates you from judgment and criticism, even those from yourself for you cannot see what you are drawing and are only expressing yourself using your emotions.

Do Watercolor Painting.

Try to imagine the colors as you breathe in and out. What color enters your body, and what color comes out? Which part of your body has the densest shade, and which part do you think has the most opaque? Now, replicate that in watercolor painting and translate that into a piece of paper. This can be the most honest and relaxing art you could do.

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Try Zentangle Art.

Zentangle is a form of art that was created for meditation that can be accessible to everyone. A zentangle teacher usually teaches this, but you can try this out too. The patterns you see and create allows you to create your own and makes you realize that mistakes are okay. Though zentangle art is usually black and white, you can freely use colors to create your artwork.

“Repetitive creative work, in and of itself, can be calming and self-soothing. In fact, some of the preliminary research on the Zentangle process indicates that engagement in the process has measurable relaxation benefits,” shares Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT, an art therapist, visual artists, and research psychologist.

Give Yourself A Permission Slip.

Think of something like a thought, or an action that you are conscious about, or a flaw you have that hinders your self-growth. With that, write yourself a permission slip that allows you to feel or do these things, that will uplift you so you can focus on other essential things.

Write A ‘Found’ Poem.

Start by cutting out words from magazines, newspapers, or old books and make a collage with these words put together as a poem or story. If you think you’re not good with words, you can ask someone for help. See how and where collaging can take you and how therapeutic it can be for you.

Use A Mark Making Tool.

Instead of the usual paintbrush, why not make a unique tool for your artworks? This tool can be made out of anything you want that would help you create a new pattern or texture that would add depth and personality to your artworks and at the same time, be therapeutic too.

Source: pixabay.com

Make A Forgiveness Box.

If you have negative feelings to someone, making a box full of positive memories for that person will let you look back and see the time when you were all good. This can help you take a step further into forgiveness and will help ease the pain you are feeling.

“True forgiveness goes a step further,” Bob Enright, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison says, “offering something positive—empathy, compassion, understanding—toward the person who hurt you. That element makes forgiveness both a virtue and a
powerful construct in positive psychology.”

How Art Therapy Is Used For Healing

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Among the most daunting tasks in handling mental and emotional health problems is finding a suitable therapy. Art therapy is a universal type of treatment that centers on providing art materials and media to people and encouraging them to produce a ‘work of art’ from these materials. “The patient uses and makes art as a way to convey feelings at that moment or about a particular experience or situation,” says Wayne Jonas, MD, author of How Healing Works. In this way, they are utilizing art to effectively deal with their emotions and resolve their issues. “In addition to being used for treating psychological and medical conditions, art therapy has been shown to produce general benefit by reducing everyday stress and increasing self-esteem and quality of life,” Dr. Jonas added. Psychologists recommend this method since it is calming yet stimulating. It doesn’t only include creative art but also movement, like dancing.

Therapists And Who They Heal Using Art

Certified therapists administer the therapy. They have a master’s degree and have taken psychology and art courses before they are allowed to practice art therapy.

Who benefits from art therapy? Anyone who seeks help is welcome, but strictly speaking, it caters to individuals from several age groups. The right side of the brain is physiologically designated for art, and it is where visual memories are collected and saved. This means that those who have less than average language skills can use images to convey their fears and other emotions. Executives and company owners hire art therapists to help their staff handle intensely stressful tasks. Drug and alcohol addicts, those with eating disorders, children with learning abnormalities, and individuals who are suffering from chronic and debilitating pain can also benefit from art therapy.

How It Works

Art surpasses the requirement for language, which is why even young children can communicate their issues through art with the help and guidance of a therapist. It is somehow done similarly with play therapy. It utilizes various colors, strokes, shapes, and different lines and with certain techniques, it can enable patients to dig deep into their selves and attempt to draw their dreams, fears, happiness, and goals in life.

“So while art expression may bring about a sense of wellness in some sense, it’s the relational aspects that are at the center of reparation and recovery through well-targeted interventions– this is what defines and differientiates ‘art therapy’,” art therapist Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT explains. Currently, art therapists are guided by three primary strategies, which depends on their clients’ capacity to comprehend.

Source: af.mil

  1. Gestalt Art. The patient uses art in combination with language to unravel how his environment and the world looks like in his own perceptive. He uses this to find solutions to his problems.

 

  1. Active Imagination. The client/patient is encouraged to create art and then associate his work by thinking freely about how it means. He is allowed to express this through words or images.

 

  1. Third Hand. Here, the patient is being assisted by the therapist in creating art through images and the use of media. This type not only practices the patient’s creative mind but also fosters a harmonious working relationship with his therapist, producing a better outcome.

Other indications of art therapy are chronic pain, which is often a manifestation of patients who have psychological, physical, and social problems. The physical issues may be causing the pain, but the level of the pain and how it can be treated are subjective. Using art therapy helps patients make adjustments to her behavior and emotions to enable her to manage her pain. Art therapy is also indicated for people who have drug or alcohol abuse.

How It Works On Children

  • It provides a ground for children to learn self-expression of feelings and emotions
  • It promotes personal freedom and self-reliance
  • It enables a child to work on her difficulties capably
  • It infuses constructive strategies that help them learn self-management
  • It improves a child’s hand to eye coordination, finger dexterity, and fine and gross motor skills
  • It helps strengthen a child’s ability to explore, seek solutions, and be inspired by their experiences and of others’
  • It empowers a child to have a voice and help others in therapy as well

Conclusion

Research and studies have proven how useful art therapy has been in helping children as well as adults to improve communication, concentration, behavioral patterns, and relationships. Art therapy has also successfully helped a lot of patients decrease their mood swings, promote relaxation, and cultivate a positive attitude.

Source: flickr.com

Our children can prosper on their capacity to communicate verbally or non-verbally freely. They are empowered when they are capable of expressing their worries, anxiety, and challenges in a non-invasive session.

“Children are more readily inclined to express themselves visually than verbally as visual language is an inherent part of our human expression and children are naturally creative and artistic,” wrote art therapist Rachela Buonincontri, BA, MC, AT, CCC. Hence, “Thoughts and feelings that may otherwise be difficult to express find a cognitive-linguistic voice through the visual arts.”

Art therapy encompasses talk therapy in that the former offers an excellent way for all people who want to heal a chance to verbally and non-verbally express their outlook in life.

 

 

 

 

The Mental Healing Power Of Art

People know art since the Stone Age. It is a fun activity that dwells in creativity and imagination. It takes an individual into a different level of satisfaction and self-awareness. As time goes by, it grows one of the fundamentals of overall development due to its effects in physical, emotional, and mental aspects. Aside from that, results show that creating art also impacts other person’s overall well-being as well. Australian psychologist Rob Gray says, “As a psychologist and art therapist, I often find that clients open up vocally after drawing.” He adds, “I would like to use the well-known metaphor of an iceberg to describe the two major aspects of human personality. The tip of the iceberg that extends above the water represents the conscious mind. Beneath the water is the much larger bulk of the iceberg, which represents the unconscious. Words come easier to clients’ minds and unconscious material pours quickly to the surface once they start describing their images.” But how is that possible?

Source: pixnio.com

Benefits Of Art

Stress Reliever

Various research and studies show that art has the potential to decrease mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. It can improve an individual’s creative thinking as well. But in most cases, art is considerably useful in stress relief. Creating visual art promotes “relaxation response” due to the rhythmic painting or drawing procedure which improves synchronization between the body and brain.

Dr. Girija Kaimal, Ed.D., M.A., ATR-BC, found out that “45 minutes of creative activity significantly lessens stress in the body, regardless of artistic experience or talent.” The process of working a masterpiece leads to a meditative-like state where a person only focuses and pay attention to what he is currently doing. The overall sensation brings a decrease in blood pressure and induces a low level of hormones called cortisol – a biomarker of stress.

Headache Reliever

Overactivity, dysfunction, and pain-sensitive structures in the brain cause primary headache. It includes tensions in the muscles of the head and neck areas. Since art creation promotes a relaxed state, it supports the muscles in the body and brain to go back to the unbound state. Therefore, the whole process averts headaches and often relieves it. Though there are times that severe pain can sometimes instantly trigger, medication along with art therapy can help reduce or fight some unwanted symptoms. But take note, before trying any medication, it is safe and better to consult a professional health expert as usual.

Source: freepik.com

Aids Anxiety

A person’s involvement in art creation allows him to look and pay attention to details. It is a good thing because it distracts the individual on other worries and thoughts that might harm his mental state. Because when a person’s attention shifted from another, the nervous system begins to regulate. With that, he starts to have access with his emotion, compassion, and empathy. Therefore, we can conclude that art helps in controlling emotional conditions as well. It aids in processing issues quickly. With its help in emotional stabilization, it provides a calming effect for anxiety and panic attacks.

Elizabeth Scott, M.S., writes, “…art therapy, coloring mandalas, and drawing in general can minimize anxiety and combat negative mood.” She adds, “Most of the studies have people drawing or coloring for about 20 minutes, so it’s really not necessary to be a gifted or serious artist for this stress reliever to be helpful; no artistic ability is required.”

Boosts Happiness

Indulging and creating art does not only aids mental illness but also increase the average amount of happiness in a person. Therefore, it is harmless to conclude that when an individual engages himself into artistic things; it allows him to become more appreciative with his potentials. Since art doesn’t necessarily rely on any specific talent, it becomes a great way to create an expression. By that, a person can show and represent his thoughts through the fulfillment of his masterpiece. The whole process boosts happiness because it supports physical skills, mental focus, and emotional attachment to one’s project.  There’s the help of regaining an individual’s sense of emotional control.

Source: defense.gov

Neuroplasticity

The scientific name refers to the functioning neurons of the brain. It aims to describe the potential that the brain contains to create neural pathways in response to different types of learning. Since there’s a substantial brain activity going on when an artist is at work, there’s a concrete sending of electrical and chemical signals out to the functioning organs. The message then attempts to create a response so it can express itself through a body movement. With that, the frequent discharge of neurotransmitters tends to support specific neural connections of the brain to become stronger. With this process, neural improvement leads to positive effects. These include enhanced cognitive skills, healthy brain functions, and the ability to focus.

Final Thought

With this valuable information, we can see that there are scientifical benefits to art. It is an excellent outlet for emotional and mental release. It is an impressive way to practice and learn positive coping skills that support mental health. It promotes self-awareness and discovery. It encourages relaxation as well as stress management process. Art is an essential thing that can make a person removes his worries out of his head and transforms it into healthy and beneficial ideas.