Art Therapy Really Worked
As an artist, I never thought I needed Art Therapy because I already made art, and it was therapeutic since I enjoyed doing it. Right? Then, I found myself at an art therapy workshop on a day when I was quite down and learned there was more to it than I imagined.
We were provided with sheets of paper and a tray of colorful art tools. Our teacher, Tamlin Allbritten, instructed us through four therapeutic drawings. One of the exercises I found to be incredibly helpful. It created a visualization tool for expelling anxiety and seeing calm so that it could be felt. After each exercise, we were given the opportunity to discuss what we made.
In this group setting, I was reminded how important it is to know you are not alone when you suffer from anxiety and depression. In the workshop, we were strangers, for the most part, with a wide age span and backgrounds. As we shared our art exercises, I learned that others were also quite anxious that week, like me, and that we all had to talk ourselves out of our own downward spirals. While I know many people suffer from anxiety and depression, it is hard not to feel isolated while experiencing it. Truly knowing I was not alone in the battle with my anxious mind gave me a sense of comfort.
When I felt this, I realized that the same feeling of understanding and comfort is exactly the intention we set out to create with HUSH HUSH. We made talismans to represent topics that people don’t want to talk about because they might cause embarrassment or ostracization. Yet not talking turns into worse than embarrassment but rather isolation, feelings of worthlessness, and depression. It’s very important to know you are in a safe space when discussing taboo topics so that you can be met with compassion and sound advice. When we were creating these pieces, we imagined people:
- discovering the talismans and immediately feeling seen,
- seeing a HUSH HUSH charm on someone else and knowing they were someone safe to speak with, and
- would have this physical object to hold onto when emotions were overwhelming.
Making HUSH HUSH is like art therapy for Janet and me. While art is always subject to interpretation, we have designed everything with hope and good intention.
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Inspired by the discipline of art therapy, we co-created an exercise with a HUSH HUSH talisman, The Goddamn Cheetah. Please download the PDF if you're feeling down, unseen, confused, hurt, or need to be centered.