Using art can enable the individual to connect, possibly for the first time, to an emotion or an event that has not been thought of for decades. It also can stimulate emotional healing through the connections of the deep and innermost feelings.
I have first-hand experience with the benefits of art. I have been painting for years.
Expressing emotions through color, form, shape, and image, releases memories. I encourage therapists to engage their patients after they complete their artwork. Asking clients the following questions, in hopes a deeper symbolic understanding about the meaning of the artwork can be achieved:
- Describe your experience during the visualization. What images, if any, did you see? If this was the first time that you did guided imagery, how did you enjoy it?
- How do you react to this piece of artwork now? Does it reflect what you felt or saw? Elaborate on how this artwork makes you feel.
- As you look at the drawing now, what else comes to mind? Would you change anything, or did anything happen while in the process of the art that changed for you?
- While creating the artwork, did any thoughts of which you had been unaware come to mind? Were there any new connections to the meditation and the artwork?
- Look at the colors. Do they reflect different emotions that you felt? Overall, how did this experience feel?
As individuals go from stimulating their imagination to producing an image, the frontal lobe of the brain is activated. The Motor Cortex, parietal lobe, and occipital lobe also are encouraged. Further, the reticular formation (arousal) is stimulated by the identification with the process of making art and building self-esteem.
Individuals feel good about themselves when they are participating in an activity that is meaningful.