Friday, January 4, 2013

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: The Art of Rebirth

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.  

Acknowledging our past traumas and the scars and ugliness left behind is a necessary process to go through before we can shed that burden and be reborn into the new day. In order to free ourselves from the guilt, sadness, pain and grief we may feel, we must face it and then consciously let it go.  This is very difficult for some of us, and unless it is physically enacted, this internal process may never take place. That is what this art process seeks to do.

Taking markers, paints, pencils or any art medium of choice, on paper and create an image of your past painful experience or trauma.  It can be an abstract expression of the lasting feeling you have, a realistic image that may haunt you of an experience, however you want to express it is fine. Take your time and express it fully on the paper in all its colorful or bleak ways it comes to you. Allow it to dry if you need to before moving on to the next part.

Once your initial image is dry (if painted) or completed. Look at the image and talk about what it represents (if in a group) or write out your feelings about the image. Write directly over the picture if you like.  Take a deep breathe and let go of those feelings.  Allow yourself the ability to move on from this dark place to a new place of lightness and forgiveness and bright new energy.

Now...Bring out a fresh piece of paper and a glue stick.  Tear apart the old image and use it to create a new image on the fresh paper. It may be hard for some people to destroy the old image, just as it is hard to let go of the old pain and trauma, but you must. You must rip it and tear it into pieces in order to make the material for a new image that will represent your moving forward.  Take the pieces of the old picture and create something of beauty with it.  Tear it apart and glue the pieces into a new shape, overlap them, add to them, whatever you'd like... but there should be nothing of the old painting or picture left whole. 

By tearing apart the old image of our trauma, we show that we have strength over it. By using it to create an image of something new and beautiful, we recognize that although we have conquered it, we can still acknowledge that it is part of us.. but it doesn't have to hurt us anymore. 

Can you use art to be reborn? Be brave enough to try.  

 Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

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1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing idea - I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to do it myself.

    I'd love it if you'd link this post to my Monday Mantras Inspirational Linkup.

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity


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