By Andrea Lynch, Creative Arts Therapist/Counsellor
Creative art therapy is a gentle yet powerful way to express your feelings and emotions involved throughout your infertility journey. When there are no words to explain or when words are not enough the art can be used as a tool to express how you feel. To be able to freely express through art allows you a space to visually see and discover what is going on for you.
The infertility experience can be a whirlwind of emotions: a rollercoaster of highs and lows, extremes, unknowns, confusion, and feelings of sadness and loss. This can all become overwhelming within you – a feeling of being stuck inside a big black hole with no way out. Many of our clients have described the feeling as being in a huge maze with big, solid, concrete walls and they can’t escape.
How Art Therapy Can Help Infertility
Art therapy is a gentle process. You are not forced or pressured into anything. It is about getting out of your head with the all the judgements and control – the “shoulds” and “have to’s” – and getting into your heart. It’s about allowing the space to connect with your feelings, your emotions, and your truth. This does not mean that you will not feel emotional, challenged and confronted. This is the process, this is the healing that art provides. The unblocking of emotions and feelings improve physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
A creative art therapy session is all about you. It is your story. This is your business and your therapist’s role is to support and guide you along the way with activities and processes they believe will assist you in the best and most helpful way. A Creative Art Therapist does not analyse your art work or images. These are your insights and your experiences that show you the way and give you the answers.
During your infertility journey, there may be times you may feel you cannot speak to others, that others do not listen or understand you. These people can be your family, friends, and support network and at times they can incorrectly judge you and make assumptions about how you feel. You may feel like you’re not being heard or understood and this can lead to isolating yourself and withdrawing from them. In turn, this isolation can lead to feeling angry, confused, alone, and depressed. Creative expression in art gives you the chance to feel heard and acknowledged.
The Creative Art Therapy Process
A session of creative art therapy uses all art mediums including, but not limited to, paint, pastels, collage, pencils and crayons. The art medium is deliberately chosen to evoke personal expression and insight. My personal experience with creative art therapy and what I have observed as a therapist is the ability to take ownership of an issue, challenge, or problem and to unpack and discover what it means. This allows us to empower ourselves, to explore options and possible choices to create positive change. I believe the reason that this therapy is so powerful is because it is all about YOU and YOUR choices. You empower yourself.
Benefits of Creative Art Therapy For Infertility
Anyone can do art therapy to creatively express infertility emotions. The benefits include:
- Release and expression of feelings and emotions in a safe and healthy way
- Relief of stress and anxiety
- Working through grief and loss
- Developing awareness and acceptance of self and others
- A chance for positive growth and change
- Creating hope and positive choices
- Understanding feelings and emotions
- Encouraging self-worth and self-esteem
- Building relationships with self and others
- Encouraging a healthier lifestyle both mentally and physically
I believe we need to stop judging ourselves for our normal, typical emotions and reactions and instead give ourselves permission to freely express them. We need to be able to look at them and work through them. It is okay to feel whatever emotion you feel; it is about being able to express those feelings and emotions in a safe and healthy way. It is within these moments that we find the gifts – the gems of hope and courage that allow us to move forward in a positive way.
Art therapy will support you and allow you a safe place to just be you, to express and explore your feelings and emotions, to enable you to release and express whatever is going on for you in your own way. To learn more, please visit Andrea’s website at www.empowermylife.com.au.