A proud memory might turn out to be a façade, covering up a painful experience. A fearsome monster might turn out to be a fragile loveable piece of our past. It is hard to live with fierce internal battles between pain and pride, between love and fear. Therapy makes it possible to reconcile and integrate fragmented and opposing parts of the Self.
Sometimes what we see as a problem is only the surface manifestation of deeper issues. At a closer examination such problems prove to be the outcome of many factors, as illustrated in the diagram below. The erupting volcano is the outcome of what has been brewing under the surface. Most problems of mood, emotions and behaviour have their roots in past experiences. Through therapy these experiences can be understood and integrated so they will not stand in the way of a happier and more productive life.
You may describe what is interfering with your happiness in terms of anxiety, depression, grief, or trauma. It is in exploring the layers of the Self that you can find the power to integrate all the mismatched pieces and fragments. You can become whole again.
Art therapy offers an opportunity to the person to examine and understand the impact of life experiences on all levels of one’s personality; sensations, perceptions, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Using art materials stimulates the senses and thus bridges the gap between the practical, everyday persona and the unconscious part of the Self that contains relevant memories, important beliefs, and creative ideas. Through art therapy one can connect with and integrate a wide gamut of experiences from internal physical sensations to metaphysical spiritual states.