Art therapy - the power of art as a means of expression

We can talk ourselves around our issues many times and come to a place where we feel we are not getting anywhere. Then, in a simple creative activity, all of a sudden we can feel we have expressed the depth of what we have not quite been reaching in words.

Michelle Gunning, art psychotherapist MA, has worked for many years with art and the power of art therapy has not yet ceased to amaze her. So often, the image, the art form,hasrevealed something neither she, nor the artist, could predict. It can bring a

sense of relief as it reaches the truth in a way that is gentle yet powerful. The art form itself can provide a sense of safe holding and this, alongside the witnessing and accompaniment of a caring therapist, can lead to great healing.

Art therapy has its roots in psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and othertherapeutic disciplines. The theories of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, and Donald Winnicott have greatly influenced its development. Jung recognised the power of art, introducing it to

psychotherapy through his use of active imagination, where image and meaning are identical. Winnicott used his ‘squiggle game’, an interactive art activity, as a means of connection and engagement in his practice.

In modern day, art therapy is used to facilitate many in overcomingvarious issues including low self- esteem, anxiety and depression, relationship difficulties, bereavement, adoption issues, abuse, and trauma.

Art therapy groups are commencing in Furbo on Tuesdays, starting April 29, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, and on Fridays, starting May 2, from 10am to 12 noon. Individual sessions are also available.

For more information contact Michelle Gunning, art psychotherapist MA, on 087 3109739 or visit www.michellegunningarttherapy.com

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