Monthly Archives: March 2016

Anger and How it Hurts Us All.

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It’s time to talk about this dangerous emotion we call anger.

We see it everywhere we go. It’s reflected in our children, our co-workers, ourselves, and even on the front page of every newspaper. As tensions rise in the political arena, we are witnessing an unprecedented level of anger (and childishness!). What’s scary about this election is how easily anger and frustration ignite into violence. As a therapist, I see this on a daily basis with my clients.

Anger often stems from a feeling of powerlessness and a perceived lack of control. Much of my work revolves around helping people realize how they can control their own thoughts and reactions. A sense of calm within the family starts with the parents or adults who are responsible for setting the tone and being in control of their own emotions.

So how do we create a sense of calm when it appears as though the entire world is blowing up around us? The first step is to try to find what I call “pockets of peace” within our hectic day. Simple rituals that help to clear our mind serve as a reprieve from the burdens and stress that often overwhelm us.

One pocket of peace can be starting your day with a positive affirmation. Before you get out of bed, name two things that you are grateful for and meditate on them.

Another pocket of peace can be found by shutting off your media devices and televisions. Turn off the news! It is a source of tremendous anxiety, and you shouldn’t start your day with your head filled with someone else’s fears and tragedy.

A third pocket of peace is thinking outside of yourself. Envisioning contentment and calm for another individual can widen our compassion and help us realize who needs us most, even if it’s just a friendly phone call to say, “Hi, I’m thinking of you today.” Often, we spend far too much time envying those around us who are more fortunate. We compare our lives to others which can lead to feelings of resentment. Don’t waste your precious energy on negative emotions.

Anger can be contagious, but so can contentment. Let’s try to shift our individual focus towards our own pockets of peace.

You can’t change the world, but you can change yourself.

If we want the world to reflect hope and courage, we need to shift out of toxic emotions like anger and move towards feelings of peace and tranquility. Our future depends on it.

It’s not that difficult, because sometimes it’s true what they say, “It’s all in your head!”

Karen Stabley, Art Therapy (ATR)

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Is Art Therapy for You?

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Ever wonder what art therapy is about?

Art therapists are trained as psychotherapists with at least a master’s degrees in expressive therapy. Utilizing art as a form of therapy has proven to be one of the most effective ways to overcome psychological blocks – damaging mental blocks that often prevent individuals from reaching their highest potential.

Art therapists analyze the drawings of their clients in several different ways.

Drawings are used to uncover the underlying issues causing difficulty in someone’s life. I use a series of ten to fifteen drawings when I first meet a client. These drawings are used as a baseline to assess where the person exists emotionally. They also reveal unconscious material that lay at the root of a client’s struggles. These initial drawings act as a roadmap to treatment.

Art therapists are trained to understand which materials will be the most productive tools of expression. Often, when an individual begins therapy, they are ready to defend their emotions. They have a well-rehearsed story, but the drawings cut through the defenses and quickly reveal the deeper content. Art therapists provide materials such as paint, clay or pastels to foster the expression of what was previously being kept hidden.

I continue to be surprised by what comes up for my clients – content that has up until this time been suppressed. Often what’s revealed in the drawings isn’t what my clients think they need to address, but turns out to be the root cause of their struggles.

There is no artistic skill required!  As art therapists, we are trained to walk you through the process and ascertain which materials would work best for your course of expression.

It’s the pure expression of feeling, not artistic talent that we are looking for to begin the healing process. Art therapists treat the same emotional disorders and mental health issues that verbal therapists address. In fact, art therapists often work with verbal therapists if a client is blocked and unable to express their feelings verbally.

At the termination of therapy, we review the drawings my client created at the beginning of our sessions. There is such a difference in the drawings from the start of therapy to termination, and they show tremendous emotional growth, insight and healing.

It’s always rewarding to be able to see progress and to keep a visual record of a person’s improved emotional well-being.

If you are interested in more information about art therapy, you can visit my website: thedrawinganalyst.com or the American Art Therapy Association’s website: arttherapy.org.

Thank you for your time and happy healing!

Karen Stabley, Art Therapy (ATR)

Learn more on my Website!

Please visit and like my Facebook page!

Visit my Etsy Shop for my hand-crafted healing items.

Email me!

 

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