Art Therapy for Mindfulness
“The beautiful thing about art is that it grants the space for all possibilities to be created, opening the door for all solutions” - Ronit
Art Therapy is a great way for you to connect with yourself and discover an inner sense of calm. It is also a great way to identify and release any emotions and blockages that you may have. What is great about Art Therapy is that it provides us with another means to explore mindfulness, especially for those don’t want to turn to more common tools such as meditation or yoga and the alikes.
Everyone has an inner capacity to express themselves and therefore Art Therapy does not require you to be ‘arty’ or ‘creative’ to be able to do it.
So we interviewed Ronit Nestel, Clinical Psychologist and specialist in Art Therapy, to help us learn more about how Art Therapy can help you. She shares her learnings below.
What is Art Therapy
It is a process of self discovery. It works with the images of the internal world of each individual, allowing to process and integrate them in a more conscious way in order to discover alternatives in previous automatic behaviours.
Redirecting our lives to a more fulfilled, conscious and healthy one. It is through the creative process that the person is able to significantly improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The materials, techniques, artistic process and the artwork itself is used as therapeutic means, compared to any other art discipline.
Art therapy facilitates the expression and modification of the internal experience, allowing to visually identify and transform conflicts within us in a creative way, so that we are able to perceive them differently. Art therapy does not care about the aesthetics of the artwork, but concentrates on the therapeutic process instead.
The important aspect is to portray your personal experience through images, regardless of your level of artistic skills. The therapist then helps you reintegrate those parts (feelings and thoughts) that are not so pleasing and rejected by you through the process of re-signification of them.
In this practice, art works as a mirror of our internal world, allowing us to visualize, recognize, understand and unify every aspect of it so we can engage with the world.
As opposed to other forms of therapies, art therapy works as a tool to externalize the problem, giving it a form, color and texture, so one is able to materialize it and make it more manageable. The problem is now outside of the individual, allowing the possibility for the person to experience a sense of control over what was once before not even conscious.
One of the major aspects to consider in art therapy is that the images that one expresses through the use of various materials, can have diverse meaning at different levels, sometimes even unconscious to yourself.
Hence art therapy uses metaphoric language to give you a broader communication channel, permitting one to dive into a more profound reflection otherwise not accessible through regular use of language.
Most importantly the therapist does not interpret your art work but instead they gradually help uncover and unfold your own meaning of their images. The therapist guides the process through adequate questions for the auto-discovery. There is constant, active participation from you.
What is done during an Art Therapy session?
The structure of a session in art therapy will vary depending on your needs. Though, an initial interview is always necessary in order to obtain general information, including personal and familiar history.
Afterwards, you will inform the reason for deciding to start this therapeutic process. Depending on this, the therapist decides whether the process to continue will have a directive or a non directive approach.
The first one is that in which the session is structured in a specific way by the therapist in which he/she, depending on the desired outcome, plans and solicits you to engage in a precise activity and/or using specific materials. The non directive sessions consist on allowing you to freely, within the therapeutic space, choose materials, techniques and activity without a specific structure given by the therapist.
Regardless of the chosen process to explore your internal world, the last part of the session is destined to create an analysis and conclusion of the experience throughout the session, engaging in an auto-discovery process with the work done.
The various materials used in art therapy have a profound meaning, as they can be used in different ways to create specific emotional and mental states, thoughts and ideas. They constitute the base for the creation for the work of art, allowing the magical process of internal world externalization, exploration, modification and integration.
Why is Art Therapy a mindful activity?
The engagement with the various materials allows the mind to settle. The whole process is a catalyst for diving deep into one’s awareness and personal consciousness. The exploration process through our senses and the use of tactile materials, enables our capacity to focus on the present, making it an enjoyable and mindful activity, while at the same time self revealing as one is getting to know oneself form a deeper and previously unknow
Is Art Therapy a form of meditation?
Meditation is the practice of complete surrender and let go of every effort full action, idea, thought or feeling. It is the process in which one becomes the observer of everything that might be going on within and without ones body. Art therapy is a meditative activity but it is not a form of meditation. It allows one to relax by engaging the senses to express through the various materials, but it is still a subtle way of focusing on a specific task. As well as the later exploration of the expressed internal symbols, requires one’s attention to understand and unify them in constructive way.
Who would benefit from Art Therapy?
Anyone who wants to raise to their fullest potential to experience happiness and joy. Basically everyone is able to engage in this lovely process of auto discovery. Art therapy focuses on you rather than on the technique, emphasizing on the internal images that govern the person’s behaviour, therefore it can be applied to any type of population, of all ages and with any type of problem. It has no social, academic, emotional or physical restriction, and it can be performed individually, with couples, groups and families. Art therapy is applicable to prevent, correct and/or strengthen any type of behaviour in individuals. Also, it can be utilized as a tool for personal growth, auto discovery, traumas, addictions, depression, phobias, OCD, couples and/or family problems, amongst others.
How does one go about trying out Art Therapy?
My name is Ronit Nestel, I was born and raised in Mexico City and have a degree in clinical psychology specialising in art therapy. I have always been a type of person that likes to understand things from a deeper perspective, always in search of a more profound explanation, starting with myself. I tend to shift my perspective toward various practices that allow me to know myself better, creating more space for personal insight, striving to live a more fulfilled life through self referral happiness. Such as, therapy, meditation, yoga, reading and various techniques.
Vedic Meditation has become one of my center pillars that allow me to be who I am today. I consider this part of my daily routine, as it enriches every other aspect of my life. It is through this technique and constant practice that I got inspired to create SomaSpace. A platform that offers many options for one to evolve towards a journey within.
A series of sensory emotional experiential group courses through art in which one uses their senses to know one self more deeply through direct experience. It is a place for one to safely express through the facilitation of various materials and techniques their inner and most profound core.