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Art As Therapy: Emotional Healing Through Creative Expression

Traditionally, art isn’t thought of as a medium to unravel and solve the deepest issues and conflicts of our psyche. However, art as a therapy actually dates back to the 1940s, when artists like Adrian Hill, Edward Adamson, Michael Edwards, and Rita Simons encouraged people to express themselves through art, which would then be analyzed by mental health professionals.

I have been questioning lately why I started painting in the first place, and it was precisely to find some solace and therapeutic benefits in making art. When you unload your unconscious onto paper or canvas, the mind does amazing things in portraying what exactly is going on in your life at that moment. No matter what type of art you create, or even if you leave a blank piece of paper on the table, we communicate something with virtually everything we do in life. In art, this is most evident as it’s largely about self-expression.

How I Use Art as Therapy

When all work is done, whether it is a painting I’m making for a customer or I’m helping a client with their marketing needs, I enter a mode I call the “do whatever you want” mode. In this scenario, I allow myself to completely succumb to my instincts, wishes, and desires, which I express through my mediums. This practice helps me express myself freely without the pressure to deliver something specific or follow certain rules. It’s meant to be a method of emotional ventilation.

I usually do this through a few methods, but one of the primary ones is painting. I don’t think much about the painting in terms of it going on a wall, being purchased by someone, or being displayed in an exhibition. This form of painting is purely for my own therapeutic and self-expressive purposes. These paintings are for me alone, which removes the pressure and responsibility you normally have when creating commissioned pieces or working on a new collection meant to be sold. It’s liberating, as you can try various things, experiment, and really explore in an unshackled state.

The Effect It Has on Me

I also use writing as a way to explore and express myself. Like this article, which I am writing just for myself, it serves no commercial or marketing purpose whatsoever. It helps me lay down my thoughts and emotions so I don’t have to keep them in my head and be troubled by them. In this way, they are expressed, and I can move on.

The part of the analysis I usually do on my own, as I have been trained by psychologists to analyze my thoughts and emotions. This helps me move on and resolve conflicts and dilemmas that trouble me. It also helps me understand the current moment of my life and what I need to do next.

This form of self-expression and therapy is a necessity for me. It’s a must. I need to do this to keep myself sane. If I don’t, odd things start happening to me. For example, the other day, I spilled red wine on my new fleece jacket. What a shame. Also, once I was so polarized in my brain while working, I hit my head while opening a door—something that normally wouldn’t happen. So, I use art not only as a form of creative expression but also as a way to navigate my life.

What I Can Conclude from This

The findings are the same as always: art, for me, is a necessary form of therapy and expression that I absolutely cannot function properly without. When I discovered painting, I found a healthy way to put my emotions and thoughts to good use—one that promotes confidence, self-esteem, mental health, and imagination. The fact that this pursuit has led to creating artwork that people want to buy and consume is a result of me posting my works and marketing them as products. That is great, of course, but I don’t forget why I started painting in the first place: to help me overcome personal challenges, engage my brain, and discover new things about myself and the world around me.

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