Art is a form of healing.
Creating art soothes, relaxes, and externalises emotions you have been struggling to process internally. In fact, most of our students at the Artory Kingscliff refer to their class as "therapy". Art therapy, whether through casually painting your thoughts or formally working through them with a teacher, is an excellent strategy for stress reduction and stress management. It’s also one of the gentler forms of therapies, good for those who squirm under the scrutiny of counselling, and for children too young to really benefit from formal therapy. At Artory, we offer classes (in particular the creative class) with the aim of instigating creative expression, improving mental health and of course, developing technical art skills. So if you are looking for art therapy or art classes near Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Casuarina or Cabarita Beach, then we highly recommend you contact the Artory today! In the meantime, let's explore just why art and therapy go hand in hand.
It is often easier to put feelings onto paper than discuss them. As pictures famously speak 1000 words, complex emotions and issues will find their way to the page quicker than to speech. Sharing this artistic output with a supportive and encouraging group helps reduce feelings of inadequacy, social anxiety, and many other issues. Trained therapists and even your peers will often also see ‘messages’ in your art- chaotic strokes and dark shades will indicate something entirely different to smooth serene pastels.
'Art therapists... are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, spiritual, multicultural and artistic traditions, and the healing potential of art.'
-The Art Therapy Blog
You don’t need to be ‘talented’ for this therapy; the goal is to express yourself, not to create a masterpiece. If the impulse is there to release your stress, and you love to use your hands, art therapy will most likely suit you. And if it doesn’t, there’s no rule about carrying on- you will simply have learned something about yourself. Art therapy is not exclusively used by those with mental health issues- it is often utilised as a creative outlet and for self-expression and exploration of the self.
Dr Nobel affirmed, “creative expression helps prepare us to deal with challenges and solve problems.”
- Dr Nobel
The issue of mental health is happily receiving increased awareness in the media lately. So you may have heard of psychosomatic illness- physical symptoms brought on by stress. Heart issues, breathing issues and panic attacks can all be caused by the psychological issue of stress. Taking the time to slowly build a piece of artwork can calm the mind; by simply slowing down and being intentional, living in the moment, you can reduce physical symptoms of pain and discomfort.
Here’s an (inexhaustive) list of some of the issues art therapy can help to heal.
• Anxiety and stress
• Social skill improvement and connecting with others
• Emotional and creative exploration
• Reduces pain caused by stress
• Improve self-awareness and self-esteem
• Rehabilitation and managing addictions
• Developmental disabilities
• Catharsis; the expression of difficult issues
• Unwinding and relaxing during difficult times
• Coping with grief or loss
• Relief from cyclical negative thoughts
Our classes are not 100% therapeutic, but a mix of practical, healing and creative elements. If you would like to try a more informal healing experience before, or in lieu of, an art therapy class, we would recommend any of our classes, particularly the beginner’s drawing and acrylic paint classes taught in Kingscliff NSW and Gold Coast, QLD.
Some recommended resources:
- Australian Creative Arts Therapies Association
- Art retreats across Australia
- Australian Artists Magazine
- Art Journaling Magazine
‘The most important thing is to experiment and enjoy.’