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Creative Expression Healing Through the Arts

By December 1, 2016 No Comments

Oscar Wilde once said, “It is through art and through art only that we can realize our perfection; through art and art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.” I would go one step further and say that not only does art protect us from the jeopardies of the world, it teaches us, strengthens us, and allows us to participate in all the wonderful and excruciating emotions of our actual existence. We have seen this throughout civilization; artwork of all kinds, paintings, sculptures, poems, plays, etc., through the generations, depicting our deepest depths of grief.

Why art for grief one might ask? To some it seems natural and the answer would be ‘why not’ to others it may seem out of their comfort zone. But there is something transcendent about art, something in the process of making it, looking at it, dreaming it into life, that is truly powerful. Art helps us access the experiences that lie beneath grief, it touches and grabs hold of the unspoken emotions that word’s often can’t find. If you participate in an art activity to process your grief, you might find that through the paint brush, the pen, or the photo lens, you will come across a sense of healing that your tongue just can’t express.

In in the field of psychotherapy, art therapy is a valid and relied upon method of exploring ones grief. “Creative expression often bypasses intellect to allow a greater range of emotions than talk therapy alone can evoke.” states Sandra L. Bertma, in her review of The Art of Grief: The Use of Expressive Arts in Grief Support Groups. Recent neuroscience supports this claim as cognitive neuroscience has shown that while trauma is still fresh, the language center of the brain becomes suppressed, inhibiting our ability to recall memories. Nancy Gershman, in her article in Techniques of Grief Therapy states that “the preferred mood of communication for the emotional brain is the language of sensory images, metaphors, and symbols.” This is where art comes in as a form of accessing the emotional brain for healing through its language of images instead of spoken words.

Excerpt from: http://www.stillbornandstillbreathing.com/2013/10/october-grief-project-creative.html by Lindsey Henke, blog: Still Breathing…Living the Healing Life After Grief and Loss www.stillbornandstillbreathing.com