Friday, June 1, 2012

... creative and expressive art therapy workshop in the philippines ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

Art Attacks

By Joanne Ellise Melendez
The Manila Bulletin
June 1, 2012, 2:01pm
WORKSHOP participants use the power of art as a therapeutic tool to free their mind, express their deepest emotions and heal their body, mind and spirit.
WORKSHOP participants use the power of art as a therapeutic tool to free their mind, express their deepest emotions and heal their body, mind and spirit.

MANILA, Philippines — Some of us are born with great artistic talent,  but not many of us are blessed with hands like those of Picasso’s or with genius for words like that of Edgar Allan Poe’s.
While the brave pursue the arts despite failed attempts, a lot of us are content just being onlookers, afraid to try and have our works be judged or laughed at. We are terrified at the thought of failing, knowing that those around us have this wrong notion that art is all about technique, that anything associated with the word “artistic” has to be beautiful, symmetric, perfect.
But there’s more to art than meets the eye.

Art is not really about producing the best-looking painting or the best-sounding poem. It’s about reaching deep within one’s self, hearing, and expressing what our inner selves have to say.
This is exactly what the people of the Life Change Recovery Center and the Foundation for Adolescent Development (FAD) want to emphasize– that art shouldn’t be just for show but should be used as a tool for exploring, expressing, healing, and improving one’s self.
To further this advocacy, they recently partnered with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in conducting a workshop entitled “The Art of Healing: Using Art Therapy to Heal Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit” to help create public awareness on how art can be used, not just creatively, but also therapeutically.
“Not many people would understand that it’s not just about having fun but it’s about growing in the process of having fun and being one with your artwork. But with our partnership with the NCAA we can advocate our cause to allow people to understand that,” says Agnes Agbayani, Life Change’s executive director.
The workshop was attended by guidance counselors, community leaders, representatives from non-governmental organizations, and students, all of whom have the ability and resources to share their learning with others.
“The art therapy workshop is not only for the participants themselves but also for people that they work with,” Cecille Villa, executive director of the Foundation for Adolescent Development explains. “So if they’re doing counseling programs, they might be able to use it as part of the counseling process with their students. Those who are involved with NGOs might be able to use it to address issues of young people in their communities.”
In the workshop, participants had to be involved in the activities lined up for the day, one of which was to create a “self-box,” a representation of their inner and outer selves, and a “monster protector” to protect them from their negative emotions.

 “Healing” isn’t exactly what pops into our head when we hear the word “art.” But art actually heals, states Dr. Randy Dellosa, psychiatrist and psychologist, founder of Life Change, and the facilitator of the workshop. Dr. Dellosa has been using art therapy as a tool to help his patients achieve holistic healing.
Creative and Expressive Art therapy uses five art forms that involve movement, sound, visual arts, poetry, and drama in the process – basically a hybrid of creativity and psychotherapy. But unlike ordinary art, art therapy’s focus is not on one’s mastery of techniques or delivery of performance but rather on one’s ability to immerse himself in the creative process to free his mind from all his stresses and worries.
 “We usually think of the body, the mind, the emotion, and the spirit separately but they actually interact very strongly. So in art therapy, when we work on our subconscious mind or our emotions, it could actually produce a domino effect on healing other aspects. The mind is powerful enough to create physical changes. So if we unload ourselves of emotional baggage, our bodies could feel lighter,” Dr. Dellosa shares.

Dr. Dellosa also says that unlike talk therapy, healing through the use of arts is not only spontaneous and creative, but is also experiential.
“In talk therapy, our way of expressing is very limited especially when we’re not good in articulating. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So just by coming up with the proper picture, it already captures so much,” he explains.
Raine Grey, project coordinator of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation, an organization that deals with depression and suicide, agrees that art therapy helps people be more in touch with themselves while allowing them to freely express emotions that they are holding back.
“Sometimes conventional therapy can’t really express what a person is feeling especially when he is going through depression. While art therapy may not be the answer to all cases of depression, it can be a way for some patients, particularly the younger ones, to express what it is they’re feeling.”
Dianne Rodriguez, a guidance counselor from the University of the East-Manila, also stresses the importance of involving fun and creative activities in addressing issues, specifically among the youth.
“It is a useful method for people who are not verbally communicative because at least by using art as a therapeutic tool, they will not feel like their lives are being invaded. Art can help youngsters to express themselves freely and at the same time guide them in discovering their own issues and processing their emotions until they come up with a realization.”
While doing art therapy may not be the panacea for all the ills in this world, getting in touch with our creative side wouldn’t exactly hurt. Be your own Shakespeare, Mozart or Michelangelo. Do not let the fear of failing or being judged hold you back; you may be the only one standing in your way.
So just free yourself and let all the creative juices come to you. Who knows, art might just be the answer to that uneasy mind, that broken heart, or that stressful, toxic life that you are living.