hadn’t seen this group since before Christmas, due to a change in my schedule and the Polar Vortex earlier this year. I felt a little rusty and a little
unsure about what we would be doing.
I shouldn’t have worried. This group never fails to make me smile and remind me why I’m in this field. Carla, my co-facilitator, and I decided
the directive needed to be active and colorful, due to it being a cold gray day and they do so much sitting and listening. We walked into the room with big smiles, small canvases, and a plethora of paint colors.
Each canvas had a scribble on it, with which our clients could find a
picture, color in a design, or paint over completely if they so desired. Before all the materials were even handed out and the directive fully explained, some of our clients had started painting. They so clearly needed
the colorful and artistic outlet that day! They were focused, creative, and
engaged. A gentleman who has given us the grumpy “I’m not going to do it” attitude in other sessions started painting without being asked twice. He covered his canvas with purple and yellow “A” and “X” shapes. Another older gentleman who regularly questions why he should participate in a particular project completed two abstract paintings with blues, greens, and yellows. One lady who often hesitates to participate because her friend is very anti-art completed a red and blue painting, and shared a huge smile and “Thank you” when we finished.
Throughout the art-making were conversations about the Super Bowl, Italian opera, and grandchildren. How could I have ever been worried that this group wouldn’t go well? It always goes well, because we are making art together and sharing our lives with each other.
One of the gifts of art therapy, beyond the capacity for healing it brings to many people, is how it builds connection and brings relief through the simple process of creating alongside another person. Last week, TLOTH’s newest clinical intern, Lisa, arrived. During group supervision we spent time making art together. It was so much fun to sit with the other women I work with at TLOTH and share our hearts and minds through our creative processes.
We didn’t even have to talk about our pieces or share deep insight – the pure pleasure of creating beautiful images together was enough.
Days like Monday and moments like I experienced at Elderday and in supervision last week remind me why I am called to art therapy and why I do what I do. I’m excited to see what the rest of the semester brings, as we start new groups and continue bringing art and light to Aurora and our partners.
~Briana Colton, 2014 MAT Candidate, Adler School of Professional Psychology