Art therapy works for me. I used photography as my gateway to emotions that I tucked away out of harms way but not available to me either. Photography helped me unleash my mind in ways that I can't describe. Events, emotions, and ideas came to consciousness through the use of my camera. Drawings, wood working, and non-silver photography explored my inner world even deeper. I found one article that led me to others. I now have them arranged in order:
Visual Journaling - a history
Visual Journaling, Self-Regulation and Stress Reduction
Top ten Art Therapy Prompts
1) How Do You Feel Today?
2) Spontaneous Imagery.
3) Non-Dominant Hand Drawing.
4) Working Within a Circle.
5) Dream Journal.
6) Photocollage Journal.
7) Doodle Diary.
9) Altered Book.
10) Create Your Own Approach.
Here are a few basic guidelines for visual journaling:
Just Relax. Many professionals who use visual journaling recommend some sort of relaxation practice before beginning each entry. That can be helpful, but don’t make it into a laborious ritual if it does not feel right to you. Visual journaling itself ought to serve that purpose of stress reduction and emotional regulation. Some times it is best to just pick up your art materials and get started.
Record the Date. Write down the date [on the front or back of the page] you completed the image in your journal. If a title or other words come to mind, be sure to write those down, too.
Don’t Go it Alone. A visual journal can be a private experience, but if you really want to get the most out it, an empathetic and reflective witness is important. Of course, I recommend an art therapist skilled at helping you deepen narrative work about your images; a visual journaling group that meets regularly to share creative work and spend time together working in journals is another good option. There are online art communities [like the Art Therapy + Happiness Project] that offer opportunities to connect with other visual journalers, too.
Safety First. There is an automatic mantra that “a visual journal is safe place to express your feelings and experiences.” This is not necessarily true in all cases. We often are inclined to place our deepest, most tender experiences in journals of any kind. I always advise my clients who take up the practice to consider keeping their journals in a safe place if writing about traumatic events, losses or interpersonal problems. And with my youngest clients, I encourage children I see in therapy to leave their journals with me for safekeeping between sessions especially if they are in danger of domestic violence or abuse.
My book We are One is a collection of my art pieces telling my story. I wrote it with the help of my professor as a year long culmination senior project for college. The link below takes you to the online copy.
I worked with professors and counselors with my art work. I never worked specifically with someone trained in art therapy. I still use drawing as a way to calm myself. The drawings are often abstract and simply a way to sooth my mind. I think I need to get them out more often. It was easier when I had college classes with specific assignments. You don't need to be an art major to grab pencil and paper. A camera on your phone works well to capture a moment.
|5 to 1|