Art - A Tool for Healing
To Open a New Window in Your Life.
Can Artwork Help People with Cancer?
The creative process of artwork and / or Art therapy, used by cancer patients may provide the following benefits:
- Encourages self-expression
- Increases self-awareness
- Releases unspoken and often unconscious concerns about illness and life
- Deals with emotional conflicts
- Reduces stress
- Lifts the spirit and re -sparks joy of life
- Improves communication and social function
- Promotes positive coping strategies
- Reduces stress, fear, and anxiety
- Provides a sense of comfort
- Achieves a sense of freedom and self-confidence
- Reduces pain
- Serves as a diagnostic tool
The Creative Process of Artwork is a Mind - Body Therapy
Artwork is safe and can be quite effective in helping you better deal with many aspects of the "roller-coaster" experience of cancer and treatment. Art is the ultimate personal healer during stressful times. As an addition to your cancer treatment plan, it has the potential to be pleasant, productive, and inspiring.
My vision for the artwork in my practice grew throughout my own healing journey through cancer. I realized that I had found a way to offer my artist skills for healing to people who are ill with cancer. My paintings and sculptures have evolved into therapeutic devices, used to promote health, balance and relaxation by communicating with the inner aspects of our being.
I have witnessed the positive effect of Creative Art many times throughout my own journey to health and in my patients. In fact, creating art was one of my greatest support while I was ill with cancer.
Creative expression can help people rediscover aspects of themselves that were set aside and maybe even buried for a period of time. It is never too late to rediscover yourself through art work.
There are many different types of creative expression, i.e. painting, drawing, sculpturing, photography, dancing, movement therapy, music, singing, writing – journaling, storytelling, drama, acting. For those dealing with illness, creative expressions can enable individuals to meet challenges with a deeper healing capacity. The opportunity is to find creative, artistic expression that works for each individual.
The creative process has healing power, serving as an avenue for exploration and transformation. Art can help people access their emotions, increase self-awareness, and promote healing. It can reveal unspoken or unconscious thoughts, fears, or concerns and, in doing so, make them easier to address and resolve. Through creative art expression, you can discover and articulate, release stress and uplift your spirit. It can also help patients access deep inner resources of joy, clarity, and inspiration. The act of creating art, and the practice of appreciating it, either individually, with loved ones, or in groups, can provide a sense of freedom and inner fulfillment.
Art healing is not about being an artist, its about re-awakening the inner child who loved to color, cut, paste, and use her imagination in wondrous ways. Don't worry if you think you can't draw or paint. Art healing is a hands-on, self-help approach to overcoming obstacles in one's life. It’s not enough to read articles or books on art healing, you must participate in the creative process for it to be beneficial. And while artists in general tend to focus on the aesthetics of the image, art-healing focus is on your feelings, thoughts, and ideas.
Feeling calm, centered, and connected with your own inner truth is a very powerful tool for healing.
Artwork can help you express thoughts, feelings, or memories of which you may have been unaware, or otherwise unable to express. Such thoughts, feelings, or memories - especially those related to your cancer diagnosis - could be transformed in a way that greatly enhances the cancer journey. Creating a drawing or painting of an emotion or event can be a powerful, therapeutic experience that helps reveal some of your greatest gifts and strengths.
And while artists in general tend to focus on the aesthetics of the image, art-healing focus is on your feelings, thoughts, and ideas.
Do you need to work with an art therapist?
It’s important to note that you don’t need an art therapist to reap the benefits of art therapy. If you go into art as therapy and learn about the basic concepts and ideas that it represents, then you can learn a lot about yourself through your own isolated creative expression. It’s something you can do on your own to just relieve stress, discover yourself in new ways, etc. It’s also something you can do with other people. It’s truly a beautiful thing when you’re sharing art in an open, friendly, loving environment with other people that are on the same wave.
Participating in art therapy or creating art on your own can be an effective form of distraction as well. Thinking about and creating art can help to distract you from focusing on thoughts of pain and anxiety.
By expressing yourself through art, (an art therapist can help) you see things about yourself that you otherwise may not have comprehended. Art therapists can help you process emotions and feelings that you are struggling with, so you can begin healing. Since art therapists are trained in the arts and, obviously, in therapy, they are capable of guiding you through the process of creative expression. They are also quite capable of providing insight into your creations and helping you understand certain aspects of yourself that maybe you didn’t know existed, whether good or bad.
Creating art (with an art therapist) helps you express painful thoughts or memories possibly related to your cancer diagnosis. This may, in turn, help you cope with the difficulties of the diagnosis. In conventional mental health therapy, people talk with a counselor. To talk about traumatic or painful experiences that may be hidden in the subconscious mind is an important part of the healing process. In much the same way, creating a drawing or painting of an emotion or event can serve as a tool that helps the art therapist guide you through the process of dealing with similar concerns.
You will learn things about yourself you didn't know.
Try this exercise
Don't worry if you think you can't draw, paint, or write. This place is for your creative art healing, no one needs to see your artwork except you.
- Draw a picture of yourself and within this picture, draw your body's healing forces
- Draw any and all treatment you may be receiving
- Draw your body's healing forces interacting with your cancer
- What is the story in my drawing?
- What is the symbolism of my images, colors, and other content of the drawing?
- What is the relationship between my drawing of the cancer, the treatments, and myself?
- Why are these images coming to me now?
- Why am I choosing to see things in this light at this particular time?
- What changes in my beliefs do these images indicate? (This question applies to drawings done every 3 months.)
Creating art can take your mind off of what’s stressing you, There’s a certain quality of being called “flow”, that experts say is very beneficial for us.
This refers to a state of being completely engaged in something to the point of being in a near meditative state. It carries many of the benefits of meditation, leaving you much less stressed when you’re done. You can experience ‘flow’ when you’re doing creative activities like painting, drawing, writing etc and even gardening.
During hours spent alone engaged in your creative task, your thoughts and mindset will be shifted into a state of complete freedom from stress, anxiety and negativity. Having a flow experience is something beyond words.
Spending time alone can be beautiful
Many in society have a fear of being alone. But, I can guarantee you artists are not among those who fear solitude. In fact, they embrace it and find that time to be some of their favorite moments alive while working on their craft.
Art is the most intimate form of self expression
And a way to connect with others on a deeper level than anything else. If you have lost that incredible passion you once had for life, finding a form of art to work on is a surefire way to re-spark it. In a good kind of way, creating art will change your way of thinking about yourself and the world. You will start to see beauty and patterns in things you did not before.
You can find incredible meaning in life by pursuing creative expression. It can be just what you need to conquer internal negativity and conflicts and experience personal growth. Once engaged in a form of art, your mind will constantly be churning with new thoughts, ideas and imagery in a positive way. People talk about mental supplements, vitamins, etc. none of that has any effect. Engaging your brain in creativity and actively creating your own art is the ultimate mental boost that will carry over into your everyday life.
Art is something amazing all passionate individuals can make a part of their lives. Do you remember when you were a child and how much you loved coloring, cutting and pasting? Was your tongue sticking out the side of your mouth in total concentration? Don't you miss that?
No matter what type of art you make, it is one of the most fulfilling things you can do as a conscious and creative person. I not only find it a driving force in my life, but have witnessed what happens to someone when they get involved as well.
The transformation of those people into more positive, well-rounded human beings is true, honest and incredible to witness first-hand. As an artist, I have taken much time to help others who came to me looking for guidance in helping them find their path. If you’re an artist, this is something you have probably experienced too. This can be even more fulfilling than creating your own art.
Art is really whatever you make of it, the definition is so wide open. Don’t be constrained in your thinking of what art is. Find out what comes naturally to you and you’ll know what is right for you.
Now I invite you to have fun, try things out and play. To be creative, you simply open a door, the door of the subconscious mind, and allow thoughts and images to emerge unedited. Unlock the door and open it wide to allow your muse to appear