Art therapy is an effective therapeutic modality that can benefit highly sensitive people (and non-highly sensitive people) in many ways. If you’re looking for Vancouver counsellors who specialize in art therapy, you’re in the right place.
Highly sensitive people often find it challenging to express themselves verbally, which is where art therapy comes in. Art therapy is a therapeutic modality that involves an art therapist and client working with the creative art-making process to support physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. By working with the creative process, art therapy can help people reach deeper levels of healing that talk therapy alone cannot always achieve.
If you’re having trouble expressing yourself verbally, art therapy can help you communicate your thoughts and emotions without words. There are many reasons why someone may have difficulty verbalizing their emotions, such as not being used to expressing how they feel, needing more time to feel safe to open up, or having gone through a traumatic event.
Trauma can have a significant impact on the brain, particularly on the areas that are responsible for language and communication. When someone experiences a traumatic event, it can trigger a number of physiological and emotional responses in the body that can interfere with their ability to communicate effectively about the experience. For example, the stress and fear associated with trauma can activate the body’s fight-or-flight response, which can cause the brain to prioritize survival over language processing.
Studies have shown that trauma can actually impact the structure and function of the brain, particularly in the areas related to language and communication. Specifically, trauma can affect the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus, which are all involved in different aspects of language processing and emotional regulation. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for working memory, attention, and decision-making, while the amygdala and hippocampus are involved in processing emotions and memories.
As a result of these brain changes, people who have experienced trauma may find it difficult to use or find the right words to effectively verbalize their experiences. This is where art therapy can be particularly beneficial, as it allows individuals to express themselves in non-verbal ways that can be just as effective as words. Through the creative process, individuals can tap into different parts of their brain and find new ways of processing and expressing their emotions, which can help facilitate healing and recovery from trauma. The ability to use images and symbols can facilitate healing when words fail.
You don’t have to be an artist to engage in art therapy. Many people who are unfamiliar with art therapy fear that they need to know how to draw or paint. However, art therapy is not about creating a masterpiece; it’s about the creative process itself. The art therapists at Constellations Counselling focus on your strengths, interests, and abilities to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Engaging in the creative process can help you develop self-awareness, explore emotions, address unresolved emotional conflicts, improve social skills, and raise self-esteem.
Art expression can take many forms, including drawing, painting, sculpting, working with clay, writing, collage, poetry, music, and more. Research has shown that art therapy is a powerful tool for promoting healing and well-being through creative self-expression. When working with an art therapist, clients have the freedom to create a variety of pieces that reflect their individual needs and preferences. Some clients may prefer to paint pictures, while others enjoy experimenting with different paint colors or working with clay to create pinch pots or animals. Others may enjoy drawing cartoons or simply scribbling on a page. Whatever form it takes, art therapy is a highly individualized process that is tailored to each client’s unique needs and preferences.
The benefits of art therapy are many.
- Encourages self-expression and self-awareness: Art therapy allows you to express yourself in a way that feels safe and comfortable, which can help you gain a better understanding of your thoughts, emotions, and experiences. For example, creating a piece of art that represents how you’re feeling can help you process and make sense of those feelings.
- Supports self-care and well-being: Art therapy can be a form of self-care that promotes relaxation, stress relief, and a sense of balance. For example, taking time to create art can be a way to recharge your batteries and take care of yourself.
- Improves coping skills: Art therapy can help you develop healthy and effective coping skills that can be applied to other areas of your life. For example, learning how to regulate your emotions through art therapy can help you better manage stress and anxiety in everyday life.
- Increases self-esteem: Art therapy can help you build confidence in your own abilities and strengths. For example, creating a piece of art that accurately reflects what you are feeling can be a source of validation and self-affirmation.
- Promotes exploration and problem-solving: Art therapy can be a way to explore difficult or complex issues in a safe and non-threatening way. For example, using art to create a visual representation of a problem can help you gain new insights and perspectives.
- Manages chronic pain and physical ailments causing distress: Art therapy can be a way to manage chronic pain and physical symptoms related to chronic illness by promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and providing a positive distraction from pain. For example, creating art can be a way to focus your mind on something other than pain, or to release tension in your body through creative expression.
- Supports trauma recovery: Art therapy can be a powerful method for processing and healing from trauma. For example, a client who has experienced childhood abuse may use art therapy to explore and express their emotions related to the abuse. By creating a piece of art that represents their experiences, the client can pull that trauma outside of themselves and turn it into art so for that moment it is no longer living in their bodies. Through this therapeutic process the client can distance themselves from their trauma and oftentimes feels safer talking about it with the counsellor. When viewing the creative piece from this new perspective, a client may also be able to gain a deeper understanding of their emotions and how the abuse has impacted their life. Also, the body movement that comes with creating art will allow the release of unexpressed emotions. As the client continues to engage in art therapy, they will develop new coping strategies and ways of managing difficult emotions that can help them on their path of healing.
If you’re looking for a Vancouver counsellor who specializes in art therapy, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Remember, it’s always your choice to engage in art therapy, and it’s okay to start or stop at any time.
Counsellor Vancouver, BC Heather Hassenbein Art Therapist Empath Highly Sensitive Person HSP First Responder Counsellor BIPOC Counsellor Black Counsellor