Expressive Art therapy can offer artists a place to heal, reconnect, and transform their relationship to themselves and their art form.
Remember when you first opened your mouth and sang your big tender heart out to the hills around you, spinning with your arms outspread, alá Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music? Remember when you first stepped onto a stage and the spotlight hit your skin just right that you felt the glowing halo of electric energy coursing all around you? Remember when someone played your favorite song and you jumped up and just could not stop dancing? Remember when you first picked up a paint brush and dabbed huge globs of brightly colored paint on the paper in front of you, then used your fingers to make a big mess?
Yes – me too!
But maybe somewhere along the way, life happened. Other people’s expectations happened. What used to feel so natural, almost like breathing to you, became weighted. Restricted. Devoid of its joy and aliveness. You had to finally get the part or no one in your life would ever take you seriously as an actor. You had sell a painting or you wouldn’t make rent. You had to sing just like a star or why bother at all. You had to publish or book or you couldn’t call yourself a writer. You had to spend hours perfecting all the dance moves and obsessing over your weight and having a “dancers body”.
Been there? Being an artist (of any art form or genre) is such an incredible joy and gift. But when it’s shrouded with everyone else’s expectations it can start to feel like a burden. There’s the pressure to be successful, to be edgy, to make art from your suffering, to not make art from your suffering, to talk about what’s happening in the world, to not talk about what’s happening in the world, to be perfect, to be famous, and so on. It becomes so easy to lose who you are at your core – your essence as an artist – to everyone else’s conflicting demands and expectations.
Expressive art therapy is a place where you can connect back to the essence, that core of who you are as an artist before you started trying to be who everyone else thought you should be. To step away from all the expectations of being a professional, and to allow yourself to be just you. To have a place where you can connect with the healing wisdom of your inner artist, who has the ability to help you heal and transform. To build a new relationship to your self and your art form – with clarity around what is held just for you, what is shared with the world, and what you want and need around that process.
Expressive art therapy can help you find the boundaries, needs, and limits around this sacred process so that you can always receive the gifts of your artist self first, before sharing them with anyone else.
You do not have to suffer for your art. You do not have to change yourself to meet everyone else’s expectations. Your art is a gift – and you get to have complete control around how you relate to it, and how you expect others to treat it. Even and especially when that is hard.