Thursday, April 8, 2010

Art As Therapy

How is art a form of therapy?

Art can relax you as you create it, give you an outlet to express yourself (and maybe even surprise yourself by revealing things you didn't realize you were thinking), and also provide a way to communicate those thoughts and feelings to other people.

Today we're looking at works from (by artists with chronic pain) and Expressions of Courage (by artists with epilepsy). We have some good links at the bottom, so don't forget to check those out!


Where Does It Hurt?
by Anna Rich
"I meant to visualize how my back feels sometimes, a very localized, intense pain that eventually ties my entire torso in knots. From the front, or on the face of it, it doesn't appear that anything is wrong. The beads of sweat on front are the only clue. When I experience them together, I want to explode into a lot of little pieces, too small to feel anything. I spun all but a tiny bit of the yarn myself. I knit, felted and dyed the painful points."

Resonance: Erasure
by Susan Gofstein
"In the fall of 2000 I developed severe chronic facial pain. This domination of pain obliterated all sense of an inner self. 'Resonance' began as an effort to structure and distance myself from an overwhelming existence."

by Stephen L. Spagnoli
"Thermosystemic is a visual depiction of neurotransmitters firing pain signals through the pathways of the brain on their way to my forever burning skin."

Echoes of Sadness
by Maureen Brown
"Silent screams express sadness that reverberate remnants of a former life. My sadness is shown with a teardrop from a missing eye, while the other eye is closed in denial. Black repetitive lines depict my echoing pain. The red tangled mass in the forehead represents the tension, anxiety, and angst I am feeling."

From Expressions of Courage:

Symbol Hand
by Bill Hoin
"Bill Hoin, age 68, created "Symbol Hand" using ink on paper. Bill states that all of these images are inside his head and when his “head is squeezed” they come out his fingers. Bill feels epilepsy has been a boon and a curse. It propelled his life into art, but left him with a dependence on medication permanently."

by Dianne Gates
Dianne Gates, age 45, created "Freedom" with watercolors. Dianne's world changed in 2001 when she had her first grand mal seizure. "I am learning how to take care of myself with proper rest, scheduled eating, and taking my medicine. I now feel great most of the time," Dianne says. "This painting represents the freedom I feel now that I am learning how to deal with life as an epileptic."

~ A nice compilation of definitions of What Is Art Therapy by the International Art Therapy Orgnaization.
~ A Mayo Clinic video of Art Therapy for Stress Management
~ Art Therapy-related Articles and Resources from the Creativity Portal.
~ Expressive Media definitions of various arts therapies. Also, related films
~ Society for the Arts in Healthcare
~ The Foundation for Hospital Art

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