23 Jul 2010

Art + Therapy = ??

Apologies for the lack of postings of late, I sucketh greatly at the 'once a week' target I set for myself. Life got in the way and I wrote the posts in my head, instead of on here. The people that have read this blog for a long time, have begrudgingly got use to my erm erratic blogging schedule, but the new readers haven't. So I would just like to say thank you to the people that have always read this blog and thank you to the new folk that thought I had fell into chasm of doom and was unable to escape and blog.

Click it to biggify it

Last weekend I went to an Art Therapy Workshop, got a certificate and everything! I love certificates, especially my endeavour swimming ones .....

At the start of the session we were asked to write on post-it notes our Hopes and Fears about the session, you can see my answers in that first image.

What is on my mind?
After we talked briefly about Art Therapy, we where then set a task to draw what was on our mind at that very moment. In front of us there was a box full of material, different paper, colours, pen, pencils, chalks, paints, glue sticky things etc etc. After we chose our materials we were given twenty minutes or so to come up with a image.
Click to biggify

I challenge you:
My Challenge to you, is to tell me as much about the above drawing as possible, what do you think was on my mind? It is not a proper test, just an idea of how talking about a picture may work in a counselling/therapy session. I would love to know what you think! (really).
In the workshop we were split into groups of three and each had ten minutes to discuss and interpret each of our drawings. Then we went back to the group and discussed the experience as a whole.

Art means this to me:
I know that arty type things is not for everyone. It can evoke flashbacks to an evil teacher, disapproving parent or other lame adult figure, voicing their opinions that you just can't draw, so why bother? Why do people bother to sing in the shower? You know what type of singing I mean, that god awful killed a cat screeching hell noise. Why do people do it? Because they bloody love it! They know it sounds awful, but who gives a shit! Sure there is that small percentage of people that sound like a angel or one of the three tenors, but the rest of us plebs, just do it for the fun. The same applies to art, well it does for me.
Picking up a pencil and doodling can just be like that, FUN! It can also tap into that little person that lives inside, that little person wants to talk sometimes, they may want to tell their older self something that is buried away and they might think it is time to talk about that.The simplest stick figure in the world with a frown is telling you something, something that might be hard to talk about.

Obviously a one day workshop does not make me an Art Therapy Shaman, but I have witnessed the very powerful way in which it can work and I would love to learn more about it. For now I am going to use art in the way that I know and love, which is doodles.

Doodling enables me to tap into the little person that makes me doodle things like this....

Happy Clients  - The Therapist/Client relationship never really ends
Now was that worth waiting for or what? Maybe I should have took some more time off from blogging.....

I will do an Art Therapy Part Two if people seem interested and play along with the challenge.


  1. Doodle made me think that you are happy when you are drawing & worried about expressing yourself in writing. You should realise that you are extremely talented at both. Stop thinking so much! xxxx

  2. I got that you were hoping the rain or humidity wouldn't make your pretty hair go frizzy and that you had a lot of work to do, but you would rather be outside playing with your friends over at BlogCatalog ... Yes ???

    Did you know it is tomorrow where you are and I am a part of your past? Or. I might be in your alternate universe. Whoopie!

  3. I am sure that you are sad about your possible loss of blogging as an outlet and that drawing makes you happy. I submit that you can do all three: counseling, drawing, and blogging. I submit, further, that folks who express themselves in appropriate ways (like you) are folks who are the most healthy. I am not sure why this is problematic relative to your professional future. As always, I love the blog, this post, and all the rest :).

  4. It seems as if you have a lot on your mind that you would like to write down, but have been too busy and haven't found time, while doodling isn't as time consuming and fills the void a bit. That's what I got out of it...hopefully I am not too far off base.

  5. I think the drawing represents you being worried about your blog/art/project thingy for your college and you would rather be doodling than doing that.

  6. I'm no therapist but my take on this is that when you're stuck inside doing class papers and reports and the like that you feel like a huge, dark, rainy cloud hangs over your head but when you're outside working in the garden and not worrying about school, etc. that the sun is shining brightly, the birds are singing, and all is right in your world.

    So ... where do I get my certificate???

  7. I would say that you feel bogged down by something either you have written or haven't written (but need to), possibly a big paper, because that's a lot of pages! Or maybe when you have to write it makes you feel like a kid who can't go out and play because it's raining.

    Maybe you would like to be out in the garden doodling in the sun, but you can't enjoy it properly because you're too worried about your paper.

    Whatever it might be, I hope for more sunshine, flowers, and happy doodles in your future! :)

  8. I'm probably completely off, but I see the drawing in a totally different light.

    The girl depicted is unhappy because it's raining and gloomy out. Perhaps she lives in an area like the Pacific Northwest, where it rains nearly constantly.

    While staying inside (again) to wait out the storm, the girl decides to write.

    As the pencil hits the paper, the paper smiles.

    Thoughts are scrawled onto a single sheet of paper. Then another. And another.

    Thoughts of a happier time. Nicer weather. Sunflowers.

    And, though the craptastic weather rages all around the girl, in her writing she'll always be experiencing 72 degrees and sunny.

  9. Lovely post AND Doodles again Claire!! As usual ^_^.

    Okay I quickly scrolled down and tried not to look at the given answers! I did somethings here and there eyes just picked it up -_-''

    But okay, the sad part with the papers, could it be referring to your schoolwork that you still have left? I noticed the line around you too, is this a feeling of being trapped by all the other responsibilities you have on your plate? Then! If you would break free, the happy you is surrounded by nature, pencils and paper to create e.g. art? Okay these are just my thoughts. I really like this doodle!

    I like doing challenges. Well I mean brain challenges, if I have to like move around...I get lazy heheh.

    Can't wait for your next post!

  10. What you write about art therapy is so right on I once again recommend that you be Minister of something (Minister of Creative Activity for Greater Public Wellbeing?) Singing in the shower, doodling, whatever you do to get back a sense of fun and connect with the pure little person inside - do it and feel no shame!

    I see the drawing as work and bleak stuff forcing the things you really want (happy carefree doodling, leisurely gardening maybe or just time for peace and relaxation) out of the picture. You feel like you're under a cloud and want them to clear so you can bask in the sunlight and feel less overwhelmed.

    Anyway, nice blogging as always. It's quality, not quantity (or frequency) ;)

  11. Hi, I'm Robin, your friend in Blog Catalog. Great blog you have here and highly educational. Post more often.

  12. Nice doodle. Now if you only would branch out into stick figures you would be a serious doodler.

  13. Looks to me like the written work is playing on your mind and getting you down - wheras the natural world is a bit more of a sanctuary, it's where you actually want to be if all those written chores weren't in the way. I could be projecting of course... I mean, I really felt like I could have made a doodle something like this myself :)

  14. The cloud over your head is the things you think you should be doing (keeping your blog up, etc.) but feel a resistance to. The sunshine and flowers are the things you love to do which come freely and joyfully. I suppose life, at any given moment, can be a combination of both. Personally, I always go with what comes freely and easily, but I recognize that sometimes one must do the other as well.

  15. Don't delete this crpitt :P

    Well, ya made it!!! Yer a regular Clue-master...or clueless...something to that effect anyways...

    suppose yer wondering what the grand prize is...

    it's a trip for four to sunny Venus in the year 5769 all expenses paid with 34 zillion dollars spending money...

    provided , of course, you're still alive in 5769 :D

    But hey, you can still gloat you got here. :P

  16. I am so pleased you enjoyed the art therapy workshop. I have never done anything like this -however, a friend of mine, a teacher, trained as an Art Therapist and now works at a school for Autistic kids. The stuff she does with them is just amazing,

    As for your doodle.. hmmmm.. within all of us we have unseen barriers that prevent us from being all that we can be. Even when we have worked hard for something, we can oftern hold back feeling 'I don't really deserve this - they are going to find out I am a fake!' So I am interpreting your doodle in this context - you have worked hard at college, but the new level of knowledge and insight hasn't always provided you with what you initially expected - you are not the person you thought you were. And it puts you in a hiatus - stepping into the new life as a counsellor and all that responsibility and trust placed on you.. and perhaps an element of regret, now is the time to be a proper grown up. A time of change, new career, new decade, hitting your thirties.. who wouldn't want to get in the wardrobe and revisit Narnia for a little while?

    Really like the way you engage your readership Claire... you inspire me to doodle - just need ti suss out how to get the doodless of the paer and onto my blogs!!

  17. Okay,the thingI like the most about the drawing?the word "Biggify." Yeah, I know,I's ot part of the drawing. but I thought it was so dang original! I wish I woulda thought to use it on my bog posts!:) Point is,anyone who can use such a fun word, isn't sad or mad as exhibited in the rain cloud and paperwork portion of the drawing. You're in a fun mood despite whatever challenge you may be experiencing at the moment.

  18. I think art therapy is a fantastic idea, it lets people express themselves

  19. I think you were trying to decide what to do later that day, work, or play.

  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. Okay, first of all, don't worry about how often you blog because we ALL worry about that and it's dumb. I hate it when I worry about that. It's dumb!

    Secondly, I changed my blog because I wasn't blogging enough.

    Thirdly: your picture... I think it means that when you are sad or worried or troubled in some way, you can write and write and write, and when you are happy, you just scribble a note and go back to smelling the flowers.

    What do I win?!!?!?!?!??

  22. Hey Claire! I can really relate to the failing to meet the once per week target. It seems for me it goes in ebbs and flows--where sometimes the blogs just erupt out of me smoothly and other times, when I struggle to come up with a topic that inspires me. It's all part of the cylcle, I think. :-)

    Anyway, on to art therapy. I am a FIRM believer in art and other forms of artistic expression therapy. People often have a very difficult time talking about their feelings but emotions are allowed to come out through art in such unique ways that it can open some of those mysterious doors that need opening.

    Excellent post, Claire!

    Take care, you!


  23. hi i just found you, love the blog so theres an award for you over at my blog xxx

  24. Good luck with the art therapy! Your drawing: in this universe you are suffering from surfeits of rain and paperwork, while alternative Claire in a parallel universe gets flowers, sunshine, Mr. Happy Square and all the breaks in general.

  25. First of all, what a lovely site; moreover, what a lovely doodler. I think I have to read more of your posts to understand you a bit more but, I'm up to the challenge. Here goes:

    What I see in your picture is the two sides of you. The first one on the left is a that side of you who dreads schedules, structure, and limitations. I feel there are things that you would be rather doing than juggling what you need to do. The second one on the right, I feel is dayddreamer, who thinks of better times ahead, where you are free to run and be you.

    I hope I got this right and if I didn't, oh well, at least I tried.

    Art therapy is new to me - I think I could have used it in my past with all the junk that's been in my head and all the surpressed emotions I've bottled up for too long. I wish you luck with it

  26. Sorry for being an ignorant sod, I have been swamped with shit this week!

    Not literally shit, but life type shit.

    Well it wasn't even shit, it was pretty cool stuff.

    Erm I mean to say, I have just been bloody busy and I am writing Art Therapy part two and taking your replies into consideration!!!!

    Thank You for playing along.

  27. Wow! a workshop on Art Therapy ... that sounds really interesting. I would surely love to attend a workshop like that some day. I liked your take on art ... it's a nice thought. And doodles can really do tell about the inner self ... perhaps you can use it as a tool in counseling your clients.

    ... and no, sorry I won't take your challenge :D ... while making interpretations of your doodle I might reveal something about myself that I may not want to :D ... something that TAT does very well haha :D

    But, I'd like to say that you should write more often ...

    take care Claire :)

  28. Hey! I didn't know you were studying counseling thats awesome. During my art therapy class today, we did poetry and it was a really strange experience. we closed our eyes and each of us read the same poem out loud, then drew a small image out of it. Each time a person read the poem, it gave a whole new impression and the evaluations of the collection of doodles we had in the end was just so interesting and it really made me curious of what really goes on in my head.

  29. Art therapy is used often to assist the developmentally disabled as well as those with physical and/or mental illness: truly noble work.

  30. Hi Claire, In your drawing I see that you were: feeling blue, had writing on your mind, and thoughts of your childhood or your child in a happier place. How did I do? Ray

  31. Hey guys! I have wrote the follow up post and I will be replying to individual comments on that one.

    I sucked monkeys balls at replying to comments on this post and would just end up repeating myself or only half arsedly reply if I attempted it now.

    I just wanted to say thankyou for your very thoughtful comments!

    Well except to the bloody spammers, screw you spammers!

    :) :)