Art as Therapy

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork                                   Psalm 19:1

Over the years in my counseling practice, I have come to increasingly appreciate the value of expressive arts in mental health treatment. Any of the arts- painting, drawing, music, writing, sculpting, etc. (the list is too long to include here) are incredibly valuable ways to give healthy expression.

Why? Well first, we are made in the image of God, and we were made to be curious and creative. Any time we participate in the creative process, we get a little closer to God, I think, and more into fulfilling our potential. On a more practical level, the arts help give us different ways to express ourselves in addition to talking. Expression of thoughts and feelings is critical in maintaining mental health. Having a voice is a basic human need.

Artistic expression reinforces our self-awareness, and allows us to give voice to our inner self. Exploration of our inner self is a journey that distinguishes us from the rest of creation, which does not have capacity for such awareness. However, the created world also expresses itself in natural beauty, and the Bible says that even the rocks can cry out God’s majesty!

As we explore ourselves, we are actually expressing God’s marvel of creation. Sharing that with others is not only healthy, it is essential. Therefore, I typically ask my clients to find the ways that they can best express themselves. We are gifted in different ways, and some have more than one expressive gift. Pick your creative platform, whatever it might be, and just try it out.

It is good for the soul!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the creative Spirit that you have breathed into us! Amen

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