Art Therapy is the combination of art, counselling and psychology. Using art as a creative tool one is able to express what they feel easily, which speeds up the healing process. Creative Expression also utilizes art to heal, but a little different. The Health Education Authority’s description of mental health is , “Mental health is the emotional and spiritual resilience which allows us to enjoy life and to survive pain, disappointment and sadness. It is a positive and sense of well being and an underlying belief in own and other’s dignity and worth” (Oliver, 2007). This definition exemplifies what creative expression offers to its participants. Creative expression is the art of creating what you feel and articulating your personal traumatic experiences when words cannot be verbally expressed.
Unlike Art Therapy an Art Therapist is not required for Creative Expression, each participant is in control of his or her creative discovery. Creative Expression is a process of self-expression, self-exploration and self-interpretation. With creative expression it allows the participant to express what they feel through their art. While creating art the participant is responsible for the interpretation of their work and as a result they determine how it will help to overcome adversities to create a new life encompassed with health and wellness. By starting with something simple, creative expression can give someone a sense of power.
As a survivor of domestic violence art has become my sanctuary and has played a vital role in my healing process. During my abusive marriage I recall painting and drawing, which helped me to maintain my sanity during that time of madness within my life. Creative Expression allowed me to dig deep within myself to express painful experiences when words were no longer feasible. Creative expression allowed me to move past being a victim by enabling me to express, release and evaluate those feelings to become a survivor.
While staying in a women’s shelter I discovered that it did not offer a variety of services. My passion is to work with others that have experienced domestic violence and create a community of survivors where we can all help one another heal through art.
I am currently holding a fund-raising campaign to create a non-profit organization, so I can provide free art classes for survivors of domestic violence. For a donation as little as $15 you can receive access to participate in an online class for a glimpse of what will be offered in the studio sessions.
Engaging in this class will help you practice ways to express unknown or anticipated events, emotions or ideas and explore how another person did the same in their own way. This type of expression helps to validate ideas and strengthen your sense of self. My mission is to offer life-changing information to those who are ready to heal and break the chain and turn “victim” into “VICTOR”. Experiencing and surviving domestic violence has made me stronger, but most importantly it has taught me compassion and the strength and courage to survive whatever may come my way.
If you would like to support this project, please visit http://bit.ly/1fO4ErC to make a donation.
Many people think that creative expression is simply about making something substantial or perfect. Creating does not have to lead to a finished product or something to exhibit. It can simply be time that you spend with yourself – just letting go. Often answers to your own questions and the strength to overcome challenges already exist within oneself, one just has to search deep for those answers and be open to what is discovered.
Oliver, J., & Murray, P. (2007). The arts, well-being and society. Journal of Public Mental Health, 6(4), 6-11. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
About the author
I am a single mother of a beautiful little girl who has taught me to enjoy whatever life may bring. Since the age of six I have always dreamed of being an Artist and I am so grateful to see my dreams come to fruition. I was born in Chonburi, Thailand on November 17, the daughter of an African American military father and Thai mother. Growing up in both cultures has shaped my life and my art. Born into a mixture of eastern and western cultures that do not always mesh; Buddhism has been both a sanctuary and a well in which to draw strength and clarity from the culture clashes within my life. I am a self taught Artist with a Bachelors in Fine Arts and a Masters in Education, I attended the University of Kansas and American Intercontinental University. During my Masters program my thesis was about how art has helped survivors of domestic violence. I have been working as a professional Artist since 2003. My work is both a reflection of my beliefs and an integral part of my Buddhist path, but also it is the product of my life experiences; other times it is the path I use to work toward samma sankappa (right thinking).
As a survivor of domestic violence art has become my sanctuary in my healing process. During my abusive marriage I recall painting and drawing, which helped me maintain my sanity during that time of madness within my life. After leaving my abusive marriage I worked as waitress at my mother’s restaurant. I pursued my dream of becoming an Artist in 2003, after being laid off as an Office Manager for an advertising firm. From 1992-1997 I served in the United States Army as an Administrative Assistant and Mistress of Ceremonies for prestigious events while stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Korea and have spoken in front of crowds as large as 25,000 and more. I have shown my work throughout the United States and was featured on the television show “The Art of Living Gallery” on the Veria Channel, I discuss how art has helped me heal from domestic violence. I also participated in the making of “Portrait of Abuse: An American Epidemic,” the film tells the ugly truth about domestic violence and the tragic epidemic numbers going on in America today.