Other Holistic Creative Therapies
By Bridget Steed
By Bridget Steed
There are so many ways we can use creativity and the arts to help our mental health during times of stress. Below are just some of the modalities you can try. Remember, it’s about the process, not the product, so let go and know that there are no mistakes!
Writing Therapy-Narrative Therapy, journaling, free writing, short stories
Play Therapy-Sand Tray, dress-up, make-believe, exploration
Art Therapy-Painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, collage
Yoga, Meditation, mindfulness, exercise
Eco Therapy-Hiking, camping, trail running, gardening, gathering found objects
Here is an Eco-Therapy art exercise you can try with your kids or students!
Immediate Environment Art Assemblage
Children ages 8+
Trauma can make our world feel small and cause us to get lost in our own anxious thoughts. Nature is one constant that we can turn to to help our mind focus on something outside of ourselves, connect us to our immediate environment, expand our imagination, and help us feel grounded and centered.
Creating three-dimensional art using objects found in one’s immediate environment, particularly those found in nature, are referred to as assemblage or nature assemblage.
Invite your child or your students to create their own assemblages by exploring their immediate environments and gathering any objects they find themselves drawn to. If you are in the classroom, this is a wonderful opportunity to get outside and, if you are doing remote learning, your kids or students can explore their own backyards. Challenge them to see their environments with new, curious eyes and to focus solely on their “foraging mission,” putting all other thoughts or worries aside. The process of slowly gathering objects can serve as meditation when done mindfully and with intention, so stress that your kids or your students take their time and not rush their exploration.
For those without yards or access to nature, you can invite them to become explorers in their own homes or bedrooms instead. Allow your children or students enough time to gather a variety of objects to work with (you may suggest that they use a paper bag, basket, or small box to collect their items in order to make foraging easier) and, when they are ready, ask them to find a flat area in which they can lay out their discoveries.
In addition to their found objects, you may also suggest that they use collage materials as part of their assemblage. These can be words and/or images cut or torn out of magazines, newspapers, old books, calendars, or even junk mail. Next, invite them to begin assembling their objects in a way that feels good to them, reminding them that this is an intuitive process with no “right or wrong.” Do not have them tape or glue anything down, allowing instead for this to be a fluid process and one that is impermanent.
Examples of things you might say to help guide them as they create:
Imagine that your assemblages are little worlds you are creating where you get to
decide how everything looks and feels.
You have the freedom to change your world if you’re not happy with it by moving things around, adding things, or removing things.
Where might you place yourself in your “world” if you were to shrink yourself down and jump into your assemblage? What would you do? How might you feel?
Once they have had enough time to create at least one assemblage (some might work quickly and have enough materials for more), invite them to photograph their creations using their phone, a camera, or some other device. If you are in the classroom, perhaps you can photograph their work for them if phones are not allowed. Because their creations are not glued down and will be disassembled, having a photo allows them to revisit their worlds whenever they choose.
Lastly, invite your kids or students to take apart their creations and either return their found objects back to nature or store their items in a box to be used in future assemblages. This process is meant to serve as a reminder that what is happening in the greater world is also impermanent and that difficult time will pass. The exercise’s focus on nature and the use of items found in nature may also serve as an opportunity to talk about cycles of death and rebirth, if that feels appropriate.
Otras terapias creativas holísticas
Hay muchas formas en las que podemos usar la creatividad y las artes para ayudar a nuestra salud mental en momentos de estrés. A continuación se muestran solo algunas de las modalidades que puede probar. Recuerde, se trata del proceso, no del producto, así que déjelo ir y sepa que no hay errores.
Terapia de escritura-Terapia narrativa, diario, escritura libre, cuentos
Terapia de juego: bandeja de arena, disfraces, fantasía, exploración
Arteterapia: pintura, dibujo, fotografía, escultura, collage
Yoga, meditación, atención plena, ejercicio
Terapia ecológica: caminatas, campamentos, senderos, jardinería, recolección de objetos encontrados