Do you think of yourself as creative? Many people don’t, including people I’ve worked with and witnessed making art. I think the mistake when thinking about creativity is equating it to being artistically gifted. Often, the thought of making art in front of someone feels like shame and fear of judgment. Making art doesn’t feel “productive” and if you’re not good at it, what’s the point? Many of us also have what Brené Brown calls “creativity scars” where someone told you you weren’t a good artist or writer or singer and it changed your relationship with creation forever. (Check out what she’s learned about creativity from her research). 

In art therapy, my intention is to change your relationship with art from fear of judgment and concern with aesthetics to “what do I want to say?” and “what can I learn about myself from this piece?” It’s taking the ego out of art-making so you can be a student of yourself. This means watching your hand choose the purple marker, a color you typically don’t use, or seeing an image of a lion emerge in your rough sketch and wondering what place that has in your life right now.

When I see people make the switch in terms of their relationship with their art, they start to love making art. There’s no more ridiculing how “elementary” those figures look. There’s a sense of something sacred happening within the art and a sense of gratitude for the stillness that often accompanies the depths of creation. There’s a recognition that happens when we see and feel our art mirror our internal world and that is a place where very special things happen.

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