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?
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