Expressive arts enhance personal development.
Last year I slipped in the rain water and hurt my knee. Being a classical dancer, commitment was everything and so next day I performed and lost my balance and slipped again on stage. I had a huge cast on my left knee for three weeks after which I was unable to dance for quite a long time. This was frustrating me since (& those who know me well will vouch for this) I find it very difficult to sit in one place for a long time. In this process of having limited movement and no dancing, I was still walking a lot. I was also still facilitating drum circles which gave me immense joy. Visual art then became my best friend. I realized how the arts supported me to feel happy and not like a bedridden patient.
Expressive arts therapy uses various arts – movement, drawing, painting, sculpting, music, writing, sound and improvisation in a supportive setting to facilitate growth and healing. This is a way of saying that expressive arts is a way of using art without judgement, without worrying about the end product. Along with many clinical, social, emotional, physical benefits, it has shown great results in self-expression and active participation.
Life is a journey and not a destination and hence, this medium concerns itself with the intent of the activity. Expressive arts encourage individuals to engage in self-expression. In my experience, there are many who are uncomfortable to talk about their feelings and emotions. In this way, an art forms make it easier for them. They pour their feelings without talking about them. In these forms of therapy, there is no interpretation and this makes it safe (read: non-judgmental). Art helps you to be aware of / accept and sometimes, speed up the process of self-exploration with a deeper self-understanding.
Self-expression leads to active participation. There is investment of energy in making any art. The experience of making and creating can redirect attention, focus, concentrate, reduce emotional stress and most importantly, activate the senses.
Self-expression, participation and activating the senses lead to mind and body integration. This encourages me to use the arts to unfold what is stored in me and become one with myself.
What’s your reason to draw/paint/drum or sing?