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Discovery and Self Exploration through Expressive Arts

The purpose: In Expressive Art for Self Discovery we will be concentrating partly on this wonderful fluid process and partly on using this transformative and magical activity as a way to explore one self. When we draw, paint or create anything it is as if we step out of our current time frame, we slow down and become absorbed with what we are doing to the exclusion of ordinary concerns and activities.

This directive is addressed toward self acceptance, self understanding, to make inner dialogue and describe the emotions of color, as directive leads to self-discovery and touching of one own feelings and emotions. To learn and accept one self emotion and find out what is the dark side, where the fears come from and to find out which will be the best action plan to make further exploration of one self.

"The creative process, so far as we are able to follow it at all, consists in the unconscious activation of an archetypal image and elaborating and shaping the image into the finished work. By giving it shape, the artist translates it into the language of the present and so makes it possible for us to find our way back to the deepest springs of life."?Carl Jung Freud and Jung began a whole new era for mankind by mapping the threefold constitution of man: the Spiritual, the psychic, and the material as they further developed the field of psychology and the understanding of the psyche. They brought to the forefront the contents of the psyche as represented in ancient mythology and symbolism and taught us that the psyche can be understood through reason.

While Freud laid the scientific groundwork, Jung leaped forward in his exploration of how the unconscious reveals itself though symbols. In this respect, artists once again were needed to join the quest for knowledge. Jung himself painted and sculpted his dreams and visions so that he could better understand them.

Although the idea of self-discovery through art is an old one, the concept of expressive arts therapy is relatively new. For years, artists of all kinds have been growing, learning and expressing themselves through their respective medias, but only until the last century and a half, have therapists turned to the arts as a potential tool for healing.

Expressive art therapy is not just for people who are mentally ill, but rather for children, adolescence and adults who are struggling with personal issues or just in search of personal growth and self-discovery.

There are two basic ways in which an art therapist can approach the idea of expressive arts therapy. The first is to be process intensive. In this approach the art therapist, uses expressive arts as a means to help his/her patients to discover something about him or herself. Expressive arts are used as a catharsis, an emotional journey to which self-actualization and discovery are the end result.

The second approach is not to be so concerned with the process of making the art, but with what the person is consciously or unconsciously expressing through their art. In this way, the art therapist uses expressive arts as a window into the subconscious of the patient, and from there can attempt to figure out the underlying problems that the patient may be suffering from. It can be risky to look into art too closely, but in many cases, where client may not have the words to express how they are feeling; it is very beneficial to use art as a mode of expression.