“Art isn’t about learning to draw. It’s about learning to see.” ~Ed Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar
Coloring is soothing. I have no problem admitting that the stash of coloring books and crayons in my personal repertoire is one of my greatest coping strategies. But don’t get me wrong; I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination.
However, it goes deeper than coloring. When I first became a therapist working with survivors of abuse and crime, I steered clear of trying to use art in counseling sessions because I didn’t know how to draw. Until the day came that I had a client draw their rendition of a “safe place.” No rules, no recommendations, just to draw on paper that place in their mind they would want to go to escape the pain and agony they were feeling. It unlocked something that day that was more powerful than anything we could have ever said in words.
Stephen K. Levine says, “The task of therapy is not to eliminate suffering but to give voice to it, to find a form in which it can be expressed.” This statement says so much about how art is used in place of words and is not used to make the pain go away, but to give it voice. Giving pain a voice allows us to talk/draw/write about a hurt that we cannot just walk away from.
So when someone asks you to draw how you feel, don’t give the excuse “I don’t know how to draw” and give yourself permission to feel your way through the pencil, crayons or paint brush. You may open a whole new world to yourself.
written by Kym Tucker, MAMFC, LPC
Rush Creek Counseling Center
If there is pain in your life that needs to be voiced, please call the Rush Creek Counseling Center at 817-704-6991. For your convenience, you may also go to www.rushcreekcounseling.org and click on the Appointments tab to make an initial appointment with a counselor.