My grandfather owned a grocery store. He had piles of ledger-sized inventory sheets. The back of these sheets was blank. I spent hours filling those pages with drawings, creating stories and sharing them with my family. I wish I could see those drawings today. I loved to draw as a child but, by the time I became a teenager, I had no recollection of this passion. I wrote poetry and joined a theatre group but I left the visual arts to my peers. When I was offered the opportunity to take visual arts as an elective in grade 9, I chose music instead because I wanted to learn to play the piano. I would walk by the art room, envying the artists. Their classroom was filled with movement, colour and texture which all felt so exciting but, in my mind, I did not belong there. I wasn’t an “artist”.
I was always very creative so when I discovered art therapy, something clicked inside me. I didn’t need to be an artist. I could use my creativity to help clients connect to me, to their healing potential and, ultimately, to themselves. The art was just another tool. This was very exciting. I enjoy connecting with people, hearing their stories, putting the pieces of the puzzle together to understand how they became who they are.
Art therapy is similar to traditional “talk therapy”. However, throughout the art therapy session clients are actively engaged in the process of self-discovery and creative problem-solving as they journal, paint, draw, sculpt, create poetry or collage. The clients, their creativity, the safe space that is my art studio and, the materials themselves all become allies in this process of healing. I wish everyone could experience art therapy at some point in their life when they are stuck, confused or overwhelmed. It’s when you are not sure what to do that you are most open to this experience. You surrender, follow your intuition and allow yourself to just explore possibilities.
You may be wondering, “What happens when I go to see an art therapist?”
Well, I welcome you into my space with a cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa, while you read over the consent form. Then we look at what isn’t working for you right now in your life. How would your life look and feel if things were better? I present you with an art directive, a way to make your dilemma visual. This directive will be based on your description of your ideal outcome. As you create, we might talk about this situation. Is this a new situation or has it happened before? What do you think it means about you? What story is attached to it? What beliefs and emotions are bolstered by this story? The discussion is optional. Some prefer to focus on the art in silence. Whatever works for you.
When you are done with your creation, we explore where it fits in your dilemma and what it is trying to tell you. We keep progressing as we talk and create until you reach your AHA! moment. Your new insight generally comes with an emotional reaction and a sense of relief. You gain clarity about what you can do to move in the direction of your desired outcome. Expect a lot of energy at this point as obstacles that were holding you back no longer have any power over you.
I love my work! Watching people connect to their creativity and work around the painful points in their life is rewarding. I feel the shift in them and see the skip in their step as they leave my studio with greater clarity and strength. In those moments, I know that I am exactly where I was meant to be.
I can work with moms in person or via Skype/Zoom. Book a 60 minute individual art therapy session with Anne Walsh by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of individual art therapy is $100. You can pay online by clicking the button below:
For information about art therapy workshops, please visit the workshops page.