Art Journalling & Me
So, for this blog, I thought I’d write about what has been significant for me on my journey. As part of ethical practice I am required to undertake CPD (Continuing Professional Development). This is no hardship and gives me the perfect excuse to learn more, preventing my work from becoming outdated and stale. The criteria for CPD, as defined by both the BACP and UKCP, ranges from reading, being in therapy, taking new courses, running workshops, and teaching; basically anything that is meaningful to theoretical learning, self-awareness and counselling work.
Creativity is a part of my clinical practice that I love. I use creativity in my own supervision as well as with supervisees and clients, if they are wanting that kind of approach. I am a frustrated artist and crafter, not terribly good but very enthusiastic! I love creating things, getting messy with glue and paint and generally allowing my inner Child to have fun. In 2016, when I saw a course locally offering 12 weeks experiential learning of art Journalling as therapy, I jumped at it, and so began my journey into the world of mixed media art and art journalling.
The group bonded closely over the 12 weeks, drawing, painting, gluing and collaging our way through as we grappled with the emerging parts of ourselves we had not yet met. Not only did this experience allow me to forget about being a “good” artist, it allowed me not to be scared to look at the blank page of my journal without knowing what was going to emerge. I learned to enjoy the whole process of creating something visual. We were not asked to show anyone our images and patterns, nor were we marked for their beauty or brilliance. We were allowed to create what we wanted to do at the time, inspired by what had emerged from the exercises and discussions we had on the topic for that day.
Journalling using a written diary is something that over the years, I have found hugely useful in unpicking knotty problems or frustrations. It has allowed me to rant, rave, celebrate and understand myself and my reactions to life events far better than thinking. I recommend it to clients, not to share with me but as a way of offloading between session. However, not everyone wants to write, so art Journalling is a fantastic way of creating images and patterns that can help free up the stuck bits of us, to both celebrate and console us and to help us be kinder to ourselves.
As human beings, we communicate with words all the time, both written and spoken. We become very good at hiding what we really think or feel, so good, in fact, that we hide it from ourselves. I know for myself, having been in therapy for long periods of time, both as part of my training and my CPD, that I have become very good at “telling my story” whilst being able to disconnect from my associated feelings. With creative means, like art Journalling, our ability to censor ourselves is not as developed, so what emerges on the page is often a huge message of self-understanding. I finished the course a different person, and last year, enrolled on an online course, Wanderlust. I continue to journal at home when I need and/or want to.
I can recommend this to anyone who would like a non-verbal way of unlocking more of their unconscious process, to people who want to relax, express themselves or just doodle away negativity. The notion of being good at art or talented is a judgement, often from our well-meaning adults in our childhood, aiming to guide us to the perceived perfect picture or technique. The mixed media Art and Art Journalling I do is a world away from this notion of external judgement, allowing a freedom of expression which for me, had previously not been experienced.
If you are interested in this, there are loads on the net about art journalling and mixed media art. If you want to kick start your process and do some therapeutic art journaling, then I can recommend Wanderlust .
Give it a go, you have nothing to lose, and a whole stash of lovely materials to acquire!