It's uncanny how certain moments in your life can lead you to unexpected paths of self-discovery and growth. I was always a big fan of the arts, be it painting, music, dancing or sculpting. Something about immersing myself into these creative outlets became my refuge from the world. It came as no surprise when my passion for the arts and my personal journey with self-confidence merged into something extraordinary, something therapeutic; Creative Arts Therapies. As I will share with you, the incorporation of art into our lives has the potential to lift us in ways we might not even imagine.
Now, you might wonder, where did all this begin? Let's cue in my lovely spouse Jake. He's an art therapist, and not just the type to throw some paint on a canvas and call it therapy. Jake uses the power of arts to help individuals overcome psychological challenges, build emotional resilience, and most importantly, boost self-confidence. His tireless dedication to this field sparked my interest and down the rabbit hole I went.
A vital turning point for me was understanding that Creative Arts Therapies is not solely about creating a masterpiece or showing off a hidden talent. It’s about using the creative process to explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior, stress, develop social skills - and boost confidence. The intersection between art and therapy is indeed a beautiful and effective one. It's worthwhile to note that these therapies include music, art, dance, drama, and writing. There's a substantial amount of research indicating its positive impact on mental well-being, self-esteem and confidence.
The magic of Art Therapy lies in its ability to translate introspective thoughts onto a canvas. When you're painting or sculpting, you're giving your sentiments a visual representation. This non-verbal form of expression can often articulate deeper feelings more accurately and serve as a healthy outlet for those who struggle with verbal communication. To put it simpler; you're giving a image to your inner voice. Can you already see the boost in confidence it provides?
Let me share with you a personal milestone. I found myself in Jake's art therapy class one day, grappling with self-doubt and feeling like Alice who got lost in Wonderland. Jake gave me a blank canvas and encouraged me to paint out my fears. As my brush danced across the canvas, I discovered a strange sense of peace. This newfound inner strength surprised me and, in turn, provided a substantial boost in confidence. I mean, if you can confront your fears and express them, without filters or judgement in a charcoal sketch, isn't that a tremendous leap towards self-assurance?
Music Therapy is another widely practiced Creative Arts Therapy. For those who find solace and comfort in melodies and rhythms, this form of therapy offers a unique and personalised path to boosted confidence. When singing, playing an instrument or simply moving to a rhythm, you're engaging in a sensual experience that can alleviate stress, anxiety or depressive thoughts. Music Therapy reinforces the idea that everyone has a unique rhythm and melody that deserves to be heard.
Believe it or not, I had a moment of awakening in a drum circle therapy session Jake once facilitated. Each beat echoed my pulse, encapsulating my deepest fears and most profound moments of joy. As I was putting my emotions into the rhythm, I felt seen, heard, and importantly, confident. The drum circle was a safe space, and it reminded me that like my unique rhythm, my voice mattered too. The whole experience skyrocketed my self-confidence.
Dance Therapy, often called Movement Therapy, uses the body’s natural motion to facilitate emotional and mental growth. With every twist, turn and leap, you’re encouraged to express your innermost feelings freely. This type of therapy is often recommended for those who experience difficulty in articulating emotions verbally, who repeatedly, might battle feelings of inferiority and lack of confidence.
It turns out that the dance floor can indeed be a space for personal healing and understanding and boy, did I dance! An interesting 'did you know' is that Dance Therapy has its scientific roots too. According to the American Dance Therapy Association, body movement can reflect personality and emotional state, and using dance as therapy can improve both physical and mental health. Break a sweat and a psychological barrier? Count me in!
If you’ve ever felt uplifted after a good theatrical performance, then Drama Therapy deserves your attention. It uses role-play, puppetry, storytelling as therapeutical tools. By taking on different roles, it’s possible to explore a multitude of feelings, perspectives helping you build empathy and, guess what, confidence.
From my personal experience, I can attest that stepping into someone else’s shoes can be a confidence-boosting venture. In one of Jake’s drama therapy sessions, I was tasked to play a character entirely opposite to me, which pushed me way out of my comfort zone. By the end of it, I experienced an odd mix of exhaustion and exhilaration. Presenting a performance to an audience and receiving applause was indeed a turning point for my self-confidence.
Writing Therapy, also known as Bibliotherapy, uses the written word as a form of self-exploration and expression. Whether it's poetry, a short story or a personal diary entry, the act of transferring thoughts onto paper can be both liberating and empowering. For those struggling with self-expression, writing therapy opens up an unparalleled realm of introspection.
I unearthed my love for writing during a gloomy period of self-doubt. Jake introduced me to writing therapy, and as I put pen to paper, something magical happened. I found myself physically and mentally lighter, confident in my thoughts and emotions. They had a space to reside, a narrative to dwell in and most importantly, an affirmation to my feelings. It empowered me to believe in myself and shaped the person I am today, speaking to you all about the wonders of Creative Arts Therapies.
In essence, a mere paintbrush, musical note, dance movement, character role, or a poetic verse can be the key to unlocking the self-confidence we often find buried under layers of self-doubt and fear. As we navigate through life, Creative Arts Therapies remind us that it's okay to express and feel vulnerable because every stroke, rhythm, step, role or word holds the potential to boost our self-esteem and confidence. In the great symphony of life, remember that your individual notes matter- let's make sure they resonate loud and clear.