Tag Archives: Art

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)

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Karen’s Latest Blog

Color Me Happy!

photo (1)Coloring books used to be the highlight of every shopping trip when I was a child. My parents usually purchased them for me at discount department stores or at the magazine section of the grocery store. A new box of crayons and a coloring book could mean hours of happiness, lasting for several days. This fond childhood memory pops up every time I see a new coloring book targeted for adults.

Why are there so many adult coloring books available?

Let’s Explore: These days adults have very little time to express themselves. Drawing figures and shapes can come with the high risk of dissatisfaction. Fear of failure may stop some of us from exploring the creative realm of drawing. But, coloring on the other hand, offers a risk-free and worry-free alternative to the Monet hidden inside all of us! You can’t make mistakes when you color! (Unless you color outside the lines, and even then, that can be seen as thinking outside of the box!)

Why is coloring an appropriate use of our time? We are a success-oriented, efficient society. We need observable outcomes that justify the use of our available time. When we have downtime, we often feel the need to explain non- productivity. Coloring books are filling the gap for more and more people these days. We have something to show for our moments of slacking, and can say we took a mental vacation and show the completed picture to prove it.

We also have the thrill of choosing the pigments that reflect our mood at the time. It’s the perfect combination of relaxation, choice, success, and the appearance of creativity. In this age of fast results, coloring books satisfy an instant need.

Plus, let’s face it, coloring is fun. To call it Art Therapy is a stretch, but that’s not the reason people are choosing to color. A coloring book is more likely used by adults when they need a moment to unwind. It’s a guilt-free, whimsical way to recharge before you return to the daily grind.

Everywhere you go there are variety of coloring books available. Six years ago, I thought I had invented the idea, but now mine are just one of many to choose from. The fact that they continue to be one of my best sellers tells me it’s not a fad that will disappear anytime soon.

Color me relaxed, color me beautiful, and color me happy!

Karen Stabley, Art Therapy (ATR)

Email me!

Learn more on my Website!

Please visit and like my Facebook page!

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

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