About Art Therapy

All the ways of practicing art therapy flow from the studio and return there for renewal. It is this rhythm like the waxing and the waning of the moon, that brings one back to the physical images and the process of artistic expression. In the human urge to create, making a mark holds meaning. With or without the maturity of technique, this call from inner depths longs for being heard. From within the safety and richness of a studio environment, art materials unleash possibilities. This is true for all people; there are no limitations. Creative imagination will surface where sensitivity meets a containing form, be it paint, clay, ink, or pastel. As such, Art Therapy is a visual testimony to the intelligence of the imagination. Moving towards wholeness, creative expression nourishes and feeds unmet need. By tender steps or bold leaps, every beginning is honored. Through Art Therapy emerges a sense of origin-ality, that which comes from the interior and evokes awareness. Neither canned nor rehearsed strategies can awaken the fresh moment of the Experience. With the following appreciation and compassion, something stirs the soul. No mistake: something happens. The art production affirms life, and the feeling is palpable. It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Fear no art.

Regarding Trauma

"Research has demonstrated that traumatic memory is not stored in a fashion that can be expressed only through words. Instead, it is retained as visual, auditory, olfactory, and other sense mechanisms. Images may return as flashbacks or nightmares that a victim of trauma is unable to integrate as memory. As a result, these impressions remain a toxic force, causing intense fear and leading that individual to try to shut off all memory and emotion and possibly leading to depression, the inability to properly function day to day, and estrangement from family. The traumatic experiences that the victim is unable to discuss or confront, however, can instead surface through artwork.

The process of creating the artwork and externalizing intense issues help the traumatized person to regain control, integrate horrors into manageable memory, and allow feelings to be experienced again." (Bob Ault)

Reccommended Reading

  • Art as a Way of Knowing, Pat Allen
  • Windows to our Children, Violet Oaklander
  • Art Heals, How Creativity Cures the Soul, Shaun McNiff
  • The Art of Art Therapy, Judith Rubin
  • The Artist in Each of Us, Florence Cane
  • Gestalt Art Therapy, Janie Rhyne
  • Telling Without Talking: Art as a Window Into the World of the Multiple Personality, Barry Cohen & Carol Cox
  • The Natural Way to Draw, Kimon Nicholaides


Videos (online)