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"All art requires courage."
- Ann Tucker
Healing requires courage as well. At Joyful Heart, we employ the courageous artistic process to accomplish the courageous act of healing.
For centuries, artistic expression has been a preferred form of communication. Art encompasses the wide spectrum of human emotions and has been used to express everything from profound love to political dissidence. As a modern mental health discipline, the use of creative artistic expression has been in practice since the first half of the twentieth century. Art therapy integrates multiple forms of visual art (painting, drawing, collage, and sculpting) and is widely used in almost every age group, from very young children to older adults. It is also used to treat a wide variety of complaints, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse and to improve the emotional and mental health of those who have suffered sexual violence, domestic abuse or childhood trauma, abuse or neglect.
Art therapy uses the creative process to improve physical, mental and emotional health by engaging participants in the process of art making. Guided by professional art therapists, participants can explore artistic self-expression as a means of stress reduction, conflict resolution, behavior management and as a path to increased self-awareness. During a Joyful Heart art therapy group, participants may be asked to create a portrait of their "internal landscapes" through a collage. The group begins with guided self-reflection. Music and poetry are employed to further emotional exploration and participants are encouraged to express what they are feeling or experiencing with the artistic materials provided. As the session closes, members are then invited to share with others what they have created and what connections they experienced.