Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: Emotion Chair

by Diane Steinbach

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

 Have you ever wandered through a furniture store trying to pick out that perfect chair? It is not as easy as one would think. The choices are endless, ranging from wood to wicker, upholstered and overstuffed to backbreaking stiff and ornate. Each chair as you look upon gives you a different feeling. One might make you want to hop in and take a nap, while another makes you feel regal or perhaps even tortuously put-in-your-place. 

We are all like chairs, when we present ourselves to other people. Sometimes we present ourselves as the comfy chair, sometimes as the throne; not to be approached.

Take up some colored pencils and paper or whatever your media of choice is, and create a chair that represents how you feel today. For fun, overemphasis the qualities your feel today in the look of your chair to make a fanciful chair that leaves no doubt about how you should be approached. 

Processing:  Look at the chair you created. What does the chair say to people that approach it.  Write out the words that it might say around the chair.  Are those the words you Really want to say to people? Are they protecting you or serving you in some other way? 
If you could help the chair to be more approachable (if it is not approachable)...what could you do? If you want to draw that solution, do so. 
If you want, draw the type of chair you'd like to look like.  How can you get from the chair you Are, to the chair you want to be? 

Options: Feeling Extra Motivated? Take a plain wood chair and turn it into your fantasy chair! By making your Emotion Chair dimensional, you acknowledge the power of that emotion, and in the case of negative emotions, once acknowledged, the emotion, and the effort of creating it in a 3 D model, helps to relieve the negative impact of it and reduces the power it has over you.

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 interesting exercise that I think I'll try. I really would like to try making my own chair but I don't have any room to put one. Maybe one day...

    Thank you for sharing!



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