Aug 23 2023
Now, just the other day, parked right at our favourite couch corner, Matilda and I, entranced in an episode of a psychological thriller that delved into the quirky world of art therapy. Of course, our capricious parrot, Chuckles, intermittently squawked, notifying us of his unsolicited critiques. We found ourselves drawn into a discussion about how art, particularly in therapy, was not given the kudos it truly warranted. Art therapy, we conceded, is an untamed, boundary-less universe, often underestimated and overlooked for its transformative power. It's a respected branch of psychology that helps people express what they cannot put into words. It's like handing over the reigns of expression to the silent part of your mind and allowing it to take you on a memorable journey.
Unbelievable as it may sound, art therapy plays an instrumental role in quelling anxiety. Much like the soothing effect elicited by Hypnos - our ball python - on a long, tiresome day, art therapy brings relief to an overworked mind. For those of you unaware, the science behind art therapy justifies how representing your feelings through colours and forms diffuses the intensity of these emotions, ultimately leading to anxiety relief. Much like how water evaporates under the sun’s heat, the exercise of turning feelings into imageries helps weaken the strength of these feelings.
Equate this to scribbling fiercely when angry, or leisurely sliding coloured chalk on a pavement on an extremely bright, sunny day. When you put down the intense feelings of anxiety on a canvas, your mind finds a vent, and thus, alleviates the extra emotional baggage that's weighing you down. Intriguingly, you needn't even be good at art to make this work. This is not about producing masterpieces worthy of being in an art gallery. It's more about expressing and releasing. It's a process that binds you to the present moment, pushing the anxiety-inducing worries into oblivion.
Similarly, music therapy is another equal competitor in the race of effective therapy forms for anxiety relief. This makes me reminisce about our customary weekend tradition. Matilda and I often indulge in a soothing session of vinyl spinning - old-school style. The methodical thump-thump and soft crackle serve as a lullaby to our anxious thoughts, and we almost always come out of it with smiles more genuine than before.
Music therapy opens an avenue to communicate non-verbally and express thoughts creatively, often triggering a cathartic release. Fascinatingly, music therapy does not require you to be a virtuoso. Yes, you heard it right! You don’t have to hold any musical degree. It’s almost like singing in the shower – personal, private, therapeutic, and above all, free-spirited. You are not being rated or judged. Just imagine yourself releasing your anxiety, note by note, song by song. That has a hypnotic charm to it, don't you think?
Building on this, it is also important to highlight the impact of group art and music therapy. It's not dissimilar to our little get-togethers where Chuckles and Hypnos become the stars of the show! While we enjoy our immersive session of art and music therapy, Chuckles can't help but join in, attempting to match his rhythm with the music! Hypnos, on the other hand, seems more hooked to the art-making process, apparently appraising our work from his enclosure, almost like he is silently rooting for us to project our emotions onto the canvas.
In the same vein, participating in a group art or music therapy brings a sense of togetherness while also allowing one to connect with their intrinsic emotions. It encourages healthy interactions with others who are on the same page, as well as a platform to understand different perspectives. Often applauding for each other, learning together, celebrating small victories, and appreciating positives is a good pep talk for the mind, helping it steer clear of stagnant, anxiety-causing thoughts. Group therapy thus not only reduces the felt intensity of anxiety but also builds empathy, resilience, and social tress – ultimately fostering an increased sense of self-worth and personal accomplishment.
Art and music therapy, whether in a group or carried out alone, has profound effects on your psyche. It's an organic antidote to anxiety that works at your own pace and does not feel like a bitter pill to swallow. Remember, the tapestry of expression has no boundaries. It’s limitlessly broad and magnificently inclusive. It doesn’t judge you on your skills, but embraces your vulnerabilities. So roll up your sleeves, dip your brush into the palette of your choice, or just get started with your personal jam session. Let these forms of therapy work their magic on your anxiety, one brush stroke and one musical note at a time.