How to Be Your Own Art Therapist

How to Be Your Own Art Therapist

By Kellie Maloney

Did you know that art can be used as a tool to learn more about your emotions? Put your pen to paper, let your mind go and embark on this guided exercise inspired by art therapy practices and discover what your inner artist can reveal about you!

What you’ll need:

art materials

  • Drawing materials like pens, pencils, or paints - whatever you feel called to use!

  • Two sheets of blank paper

  • A quiet space, free of distractions

  • An open mind

Time to get started!  

woman meditating with eyes closed

1. Sit down in a quiet space and take some deep breaths. 

2. Write the word ‘joy’ on one of your blank sheets of paper. 

3. Close your eyes and focus on what this word makes you think and feel. Listen to any sounds coming in from the world around you and let them roll over you. It’s likely that your mind will be filled with chatter. Let it fade in and out naturally. Don’t force yourself to be calm.

4. Open your eyes. Underneath the word ‘joy’ write down any thoughts or feelings that have come to mind. Spend as much time on this as you think you’ll need and be as honest and open with yourself as possible.

Not sure how to start? Here are some prompts you can play with:

People, places or things that you associate with the word ‘joy’.
How do you feel when you think about the word ‘joy’?
Memories from your past or childhood where you felt ‘joy’.

signs that spell out the word joy

5. Close your eyes again and take in some more deep, calming breaths. When you open your eyes this time, focus your attention on the words you’ve written down. What word or words are you feeling most drawn to? 

6. Underline or circle the word/s that resonate most. 

7. On the other blank sheet of paper, start drawing how you feel about the word or words, you’ve highlighted. Let your emotions flow and trust in your creative intuition. Spend about five to ten minutes doing this.

paint palette and paintbrush

Art therapy is a unique approach to traditional therapy. It unlocks some of our deepest thoughts and emotions by engaging our creative mind and can act as a release of negativity and tension in the body. 

Using a simple word such as ‘joy’ to create art can reveal so much about how you’re feeling, what you might need more of and how you can better yourself and your wellbeing.

Look at what you’ve created during this exercise and check in with your emotions. What has your artwork revealed about your current feelings towards the word ‘joy’? 

If you can explore this openly and honestly then you are one step closer to becoming your very own art therapist!

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