- By Sophie Brunet
The Power of Image to Heal
Megan is 22 years old, quiet and serious in nature and very intelligent. She came for a 6-session Art Therapy Miracle Package as she was struggling with anxiety and depression for a number of years.
In her first session she revealed a trauma she had endured and had kept her emotions quiet, in order to not disturb others. She talked about feeling like she was "a waste of space," felt guilty about how the other was hurt and she wasn't and for not saving the world from all the ecological disasters- at least doing her part. She was self deprecating because her job was not aligned with her desire to effect the world positively. Her first drawing (Image 1) was of a thick purpe blanket; an image of her depression.
By the half way point, Megan was smiling more and even laughing sometimes. She was still not happy with her job but was able to see the possibility that this was for now and not for-ever. She started to be excited about the idea of travel. She said she felt ugly and didn't like her body, but was willing to change her perception through mirror exercises. In her 3rd image (Image 2), the dark purple of her depression was cracking open and the turquoise was coming through. She said that it was coming in and was being blocked, and I offered that it was hidden under the darkness and was free and spilling out! She hadn't seen that point of view but considered it.
Her last image (Image 3) was soft and delicious and mainly turquiose. She was surprised and especially interested in how the colors (the yellow in particular) seemed to "be moving". The emotions that were being kept in and repressed, and the thoughts that resulted from that were expressed, lifted and able to be seen. She said, "I feel like I am becoming the person I am meant to be! . . . I was so emotional after the first few sessions which is just what I needed to see what was under the depression. Things started moving. Now I feel hopeful and excited about the future, and to continue my journey of self-love and finding my path. . . maybe travelling first!"
This from a recorded mini interview with Megan:
Who do you think art therapy is good for?
"I think it can help everybody. You don't have to be an artistic person. I think it can be a useful tool to get in touch with their creative side and their emotions, even. The process of talking through emotions and anxiety while also making art had some very interesting results; I saw things I didn't realize at the time and that was very insightful. It's a useful tool for discovering about yourself and making connections that you weren't able to make. I think for me, seeing it on the page instead of just words adds another layer of impact."
Were you surprised by how much your art changed from one session to the next?
"Definitely, from my first one to my last one, was such a drastic difference, it was crazy. I feel excited to see where my journey will take me."