Have you heard that doing art reduces anxiety and depression, and increases feelings of wellbeing?
Art is an important aspect of any survivors healing journey. I’ve been looking at artwork drawn by dissociative survivors this week, and it never ceases to amaze me how much I can see and understand about the person, or the dissociative system when I am trusted enough to see their artwork. Art is such a powerful tool.
Not only is artwork an important expression of emotion, it’s a way to say what can’t be easily said in words. Art is a way to show your thoughts, your feelings, your pain, your dreams. For dissociative systems, it is an incredible way to help your system AND your therapist understand your internal world. For that matter, drawing your internal world as a work of art can be an excellent exercise in system communication and cooperation. I recommend this highly.
Today, I have an Art Expert willing to share her ideas with you.
Katlyn Peterson has submitted the following information to the readers of Discussing Dissociation. It is an honor for me to share Katlyn’s experiences and her writing with you.
Join me in welcoming Katlyn’s words of wisdom below:
According to the charity, Arts and Minds, 76% of people felt their wellbeing increased when doing art. The same study by the charity showed that anxiety dropped by 71% and depression by 73%.
Both anxiety and depression are downsides of long-term isolation.
My name is Katlyn and I am writing because I’d like to write an article for you on the subject of how art, whether appreciating or creating, can help reduce anxiety and depression while increasing a sense of wellbeing of those who are isolated or in self-isolation. During these difficult times we need to help people get through it ok. While volunteering with a charity at college, I fell in love with the power of art to help all kinds of people including those facing mental health challenges. For most of the last decade, I’ve worked as a counsellor using art for this very purpose though since becoming a mom for the second time, I’ve taken a step back to share my philosophy through writing instead.
I love contributing to improving our understanding of mental health issues and how art can help it.
Using Art To Ease Isolation Anxiety And Depression
At present nearly 40 million adults are affected by anxiety and depression in the USA every year.
While many individuals are currently coming face-to-face with mental health concerns for the first time, isolation anxiety and depression have been a grave reality for DID survivors for a very long time.
Art has always had a reputation for being a very enjoyable activity, but it has also been found to be of great benefit to individuals living with varying mental health concerns. Although conventional therapies have been utilized with great success, an increasing number of mental health practitioners are recommending the incorporation of art into treatment plans for individuals living with a range of anxiety disorders.
Art is very effective alongside traditional therapies
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is one of the most-utilised types of psychotherapy for individuals dealing with mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. While art (both structured and casual) has proven to be very successful as a stand-alone therapy, it has also been proven to boost conventional CBT substantially.
Whereas talking is the main medium used during traditional psychotherapy, art becomes the medium of choice to help individuals not only reflect on their feelings and share them, but process their emotions as well.
Art has countless benefits
Studies have found that creating art, whether it is through drawing, painting, or sculpting, boosts the brain’s dopamine production considerably. This usually occurs when we are busying ourselves with something we enjoy, and leaves us feeling increasingly relaxed and happier overall.
In order for art to be as beneficial as possible, it is important to find an activity you enjoy. While painting landscapes is a popular creative pastime for some, others may find comfort in illustrating elements of the human body, such as eyes and hands. For individuals who enjoy activities that are more tactile in nature, sculpting may provide a safe outlet for relieving pent-up emotions.
Art allows you to embark on a journey of self-discovery, which will ultimately help equip you with the right tools to deal with anxiety and depression head-on.
Art displays are beneficial too
Although engaging in creative activities first-hand is, without a doubt, highly beneficial, numerous studies have found that just being in the presence of art and viewing it can also be extremely helpful. While different pieces of art will elicit different emotions in different people, it is widely accepted that art depicting scenes from nature and those that feature warm colors (like orange and yellow) or calming colors (like blue and green) can uplift the spirits the most. Art can be viewed in various formats, including in its original form, in print media, and even in digital format.
If you book a spot at the P4 DID Conference that is to be held in Phoenix, Arizona, from August 28 -30, 2020, DID survivors and mental health professionals will be able to view an amazing display of artwork that is specifically related to trauma survivors.
Countless Americans are currently living with isolation anxiety and depression. Thankfully there is a range of very effective therapies, including those involving art, that can improve the quality of life for these individuals considerably.
Thank you, Katlyn.
Much appreciated. I am sure that the readers here have found your article to be interesting and intriguing. To you, the DD Reader, as always, your questions and comments are appreciated. If you find art to be a powerful help for your healing process, please post below. We are all interested in hearing your experiences.
And…. since DID Artwork will be a big part of the P4 Conference, let me continue by sharing a little update.
NEW and Updated Information about the P4 Conference
As you know, the worldwide restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have created havoc in our plans for the P4 Conference.
And while we are still waiting final approval for many restrictions to be lifted, we are glad to announce that there are online options being created at this very point in time.
Even if we cannot meet in person, we will have a VIRTUAL P4 Conference.
Thank heavens for Zoom!
Yes, one way or another, we will still spend time this weekend learning about the Possibilities, Process, Potential and Practicality’s of DID Healing. Hopefully, we will be able to meet in-person AND ALSO have a virtual conference for those who cannot travel to Arizona.
Interested in this opportunity?
REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!
Click here to REGISTER for P4
Also, at the P4 Conference, did you see? Our Friday Meet ‘n Greet will be all about Artwork. Artwork. Music. Poetry. Story telling. Theatre. The ARTS.
If you are a dissociative trauma survivor or a mental health professional who has trauma-recovery artwork to share on display at the conference, please let us know. We will be displaying artwork both in-person or via the virtual Zoom option.
IF you are interested in sharing your artwork at the P4 Conference, please CONTACT US!
Email for additional information at Admin@DiscussingDissociation.com
VIDEO: P4 DID Conference
Does Doing Artwork Impact the Brain?
Katlyn has mentioned that artwork increases dopamine production which can be very helpful in improving feelings of wellbeing. I know I am looking forward to hearing the comments from Dr. Amezcua-Patino, an expert on the effects of trauma on the brain. I wonder how Dr. Amezcua-Patino will describe the positive impact of doing art?
Thank you for your interest, and again, Katlyn, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences about the value of art in the healing process.
To you who use art in your healing, keep going. You’re on an excellent path.
I wish you the most incredible art-filled healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
It was weird… I hate jigsaw puzzle! But we had someone who out of nowhere wanted a puzzle “right now”!!! We went at 8PM to the dollar store and she got 2 24 piece puzzles. Cute colorful fuzzy looking animals. She was so happy! So we call her “puzzle girl” . All our parts are secretive so we don’t really know who anyone really is. Now she got a 48 piece one to do sometime. This is her way to do art and make pretty pictures!
We have been doing LOTS of art lately. It relaxes us. We have been doing stuff with paint, resin, water colors, and making dolls. We have been having lots of big overwhelming feelings. Some times it gets too much. So we do art and it helps us focus and calm down on the outside, we are running out of space to put all our stuff we been making so much!!
I dont know if we have already wrote about this but after our first talker lady dumped us we tried art therapy.But we didnt want a new talker person at that time and we were very resistant to it. The lady was sorta short tempered though. Probably she was frustrated with us. One day we were excited because we were going to do stuff in the sand tray. But apparently we did the sand tray wrong because she actually yelled at us. So we didnt go back. But we had really been looking forward to more art therapy. We read a book about it to try to do it on our own but i guess we didnt understand it.
So now we do our own and just paint pretty things. ⭐️
That sounds nice. 🙂 I do art sometimes too, but not as much as I think maybe would be best. Sorry to hear about your t leaving you, that’s too bad.
um it’s been a while, i have been drawing sometimes now, and it has been helping a lot. I see completely different things different times I draw, but I just accept that now.
i think i should do it a bit more then I have been. I know this is opposite of what i think i said before, but yeah at this point the sense of overwhelm has gone down and it’s been more of a help.
Rosepetals+ (aka My/selves+Me) says
Ahhh… art… and crafting… that is such a wonderful thing… but when we are under stress, we find it hard to do our art projects… or our painting projects. *sigh*
Does anyone else find it’s hard to do art when feeling stress? Or do you find it relieves your stress?
Hum … interesting question Rosepetals. I find it hard to do anything when I am stressed out. I have done crafting to actually distract my insiders and work through my stuff. My one insider cannot talk unless he is building with LEGO. We even kept some in our T’s office so he could build and talk with her. This past winter/spring, we worked on a joint project for our T who was retiring. It was really a wonderful thing to do together. The first time we took on a project all together and made decisions as a team. I also worked with each insider to create their pages (art and words). It turned out to be an incredible experience.
Hahaha … I don’t think that I answered the question.
Missing everyone. But life is… right? Life is what it is!
I really appreciate your suggestions on working with your insiders. This new therapist I’ve got is very interesting… and very open… she says she has never worked with anyone who has DID… although she has worked with people who’ve said they have DID… she’s never seen it.
So today (via phone appt) I said.. I’m your client who says she has DID, but your not really sure, right?” And she laughed.
This morning I heard a thought in my head. I tried to ignore it. I heard it again. It was not something I would ordinarily think. So I decided to enter the internal world that I’m building, and I sat down on a pretty bench to if anyone would talk with me. I could sense that there were several there, but only one talked a little. Of course, I got scared then… they were like in a mist or in a shadow.. not sure … but I quickly told them I’m kind of nervous (or scared) and I think I need to leave, but I’ll be back and I’m leaning, so I hope you will be patient with me.
Last week when I was talking with my long time therapist, he asked me a question, and not sure what happened, but “I”? Said how do you know it’s really me? And he said why wouldn’t it be you, and I said… because I can switch very quickly.
Then we go onto another topic. *sigh*
So today after this meeting inside.. I came away from it thinking “am I just play acting in my mind”…
Also while on the forum, we read about a little boy who jumps around, and now we have a little boy who jumps around??? What’s that all about? Am I just an imitator? Or do I have an imitator inside?
Sometimes it get really puzzling… yes that’s the perfect word..
Thank you ME+WE for any input you might want to share.
Oh stress is the worst when it comes to art. It makes it hard to slow down and really play. I find that when I’m stressed, I have to take the play in 5 or 10 minute increments. I can’t just focus on play for very long; my brain won’t let me. It’s very frustrating.
When I do get to play, it does help relieve the stress. I find that I can look at my art, spend a few minutes, and before I know it, a few minutes grows into more minutes. My stress melts away. But most days, I just do what I can.
I’m trying to figure out the best way to post in this blog? Maybe you can help me… 🙂
I”m not sure whether to post individually… like post to you here like I’m doing right now… right beneath where your posted?
Or is it okay to post generally… as at the bottom of this page of posts? And I’m wondering if you would see my post, or might miss it… does that make sense?
I’m a very frustrated (perfectionist-wannabe)… LOL
An old one to boot. LOL
Hope you’re have a smooth day.
PS… thank you so much for replying.
Hi Rosepetals+, I actually click the little box beneath where you enter your name to get emails when someone responds to me. It does help to hit “reply” though to see the thread of thought. So I get an email notification that you’ve responded to me AND I can scroll through the comments and see it that way too. Much easier for me personally to follow through someone’s thought process if they hit the reply, but that’s just me. 😉
And don’t worry about being perfect, you’re great just way you are!
Live United says
The best part about art. Your not to little or to old to create something that represents how you feel It could just be with a black Crayon scribbling on a piece of paper . Maybe it’s a Beautiful piece of wall art. A fantastic poem. A picture you take with you cell phone. One time we had some use The food on the plate to create a beautiful mosaic before it got eaten.
awe that sounds really nice. i really like that. very true.
I had a dream about you last night Kathy LOL. We are in the processes of moving and me (the host) and my main little were apparantely sharing a dream, with you in it looool. Its random. That’s also about as arty as we’ve been lately, had soooo much going on health wise and then with the system as a result. We are moving soon too which is more stress. We will definitely get back into colouring though after reading this article and hearing about all the positives of doing art. I know several of our littles really enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.
We do lots with art-we say it’s mostly kindergarten art, but we’re very expressive with our art. Lotsa times we felt “trouble” and didn’t know what it meant…we be up lost in the night cutting stuff out of magazines and making a college’ …that told what was going on that we couldn’t say in words or talk… the picture said it all! Amazing…
Wish we could do something like that – but stuff is too close together…it overwhelms us…..
We been trying to think of a new art we could try. Do anyone got ideas?
art can bring out too many emotions that are hard, that i don’t have much things to do with. so i do expressive art, but not that often.
otherwise definitely, i have learned a lot from my art. it is a beautiful thing.
SV, exactly I do expressive art as well. Especially when we feel “trouble” but don’t know what it’s about. We do a collage’ and it tells what the “trouble “ is about. But I don’t usually just do art. Something has to come to me I don’t just bring it out.
We have expressive art that represents many different ages, issues and personalities.
We recently got into pour painting. We don’t know anything about anything about art! Pour art doesn’t take paint brushes, or anything too technical. There are hundreds of YouTube videos on how to.
If painting and drawing and such gives you anxiety like it does me, maybe check out pour painting. Is fun. Really really fun. We are just learning so we get frustrated easily. Especially when we make something really pretty, except for that one little area that I just want to fix. When I go to fix it, I mess the whole thing up. Learning about how to leave good enough alone. 🙂
KenKen I totally know what you’re talking about “trying to fix” …for a while I did cake decorating, it’s so hard to leave a teeny mistake or little imperfection that probably no one else would even notice—then make it worse…yes it’s hard but important to know as you said “leave good enough alone” 😊
we love to draw. cindy is the best artist and she draws about all of us inside. she is great! she really wants to share it with you.
We don’t know how to do stuff either….but we LOVE looking at what everybody else does….
T. Clark says
We still sometimes draw bubble letters and color them in. We like to do this when were are alone and we are rarely alone anymore. Someday, we will be alone again!!
Thank you for these great articles that are reminders of the many positive ways to heal a fractured mind.
I find hands-on art helpful for focusing my attention, especially when feeling stressed and scattered.
We really hope we can still go in person. We really want to go.
We make reborn dolls for art.it helps. Jodie and us used to do a lot of really pretty clay crafts, and cross stitch, and Water color, and oil paintings. Lots and lots of things. For some reason we lost the abilities about 12 years ago. Even when we try, we dont have the creativity there. But we still like to look at art.
Wendy, do you have a favourite kit? We are reborn collectors as a system and have 10 dolls cos each group of alters likes a different style or kit 😂🙈. Its a really great artistic outlet huh?! And they’re so so calming and soothing for everyone especially littles. Its nice to meet another multiple who is also into reborns!
Astrie we never saw this comment and I bet it be long long ago now. We dont know if you read still. We have lots of favorite kids but our most favorite Levi by Bonnie Brown because he is so cuddly!! we made him and he turned out good enough to sell but we csnt sell him because he is too sweet to part with :’ We been making lots of reborns lately. We even did a huge 36 inch toddler and she turned out so good. We are glad you like reborns too