Art Therapy: Healing and Transformation
by Aysha Ali Hagene, MA, LCPC
I am grateful to have the opportunity to inspire others to create happier lives through traditional talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and many other therapeutic modalities. Throughout my decade of providing counseling as an expressive arts therapist I am asked most often, "What is Art Therapy?".
I encourage a client's creative process through art, play, music, drama, and photography so that stress is better managed, sense of self is strengthened, insight is discovered, and transformation begins. Expressive art therapy is a powerful mind-body intervention that I find eases physiological and psychological symptoms.
A helpful example to answer "What is Art Therapy?" is when I provided art therapy to assist a client, (who agreed to share her story under the name Karen), who was suffering from panic attacks and anxiety. Within a session, we focused on themes through art such as grief and loss, new beginnings, dreams, or fears. Creating art helped Karen to externalize emotions that were stuck inside and enabled us to look at the content on paper. Karen shared that after our art therapy work whenever she would think of the traumatic memory that we addressed she would see the art in her mind rather than the disturbing images she held for years. Expressing trauma on paper through art therapy can make the experience feel more external thus giving you greater strength to heal and transform.
My philosophy toward healing and transformation is that we can't change what has happened to us but we can change the way we think about it. Expressive Art Therapy is a powerful tool that helps connect inside thoughts, feelings, and perceptions with outer reality so that we may think and act in more empowered ways. I encourage you to embrace new expression to find the healing and transformation that will lead you to a happier life.
Aysha Ali Hagene, LCPC, MA, from Northwestern University. Psychotherapist with more than 12 years of experience providing healing to children, adults, and couples. She can be reached at 773.966.9363 or click here to email for further information about Aysha's healing work.