In March, when my business suddenly changed, like most everyone else’s, I was no longer facilitating in-house art therapy groups. I felt a deep loss. It was then that I realized how important it was to me to be creating within a community and interacting with people about their artwork.
It was very clear that I needed to create art within a community and to see other people’s artwork. I needed to start something to make this happen for myself. So I sent an invitation to my friends on Facebook asking them to join me on Zoom for a creative break. Happily, several people jumped at the chance to make art together!
In Creative Break we welcome each other, connect briefly about the topic, then independently create and explore with instrumental music playing in the background. We then show our creations to each other and share what the session’s topic means to us.
For me, during the exploration, I find I’m able to relax and get into a state of Flow. Sometimes I’m able to immediately create an art image that expresses what I’m feeling, but at other times I struggle with what to make. In that struggle I keep thinking, keep wondering, keep moving around my studio. Often I grab some art material that I am instinctively gravitating towards because I know that I need to stop overthinking it and just start making something. That effort of simply starting seems to unlock something inside of me. It allows me to go past my own criticism, to go beyond my own judgment; and I just create, making something.
By diving in and making something, I can allow my thoughts to wander in and out. I might think, “I didn’t realize this is what I thought about this,” or, “yes, this is how I feel.” I often discover buried or new thoughts.
When it’s time to connect and share with others, I learn about how they explored and discovered their thoughts and feelings about the topic. It allows me to process what I am thinking and feeling; it helps me realize that our art pieces speak volumes. I often find myself transformed through this seemingly simple task. It’s simple, yet profound.
The more I attend Creative Break, the more I feel a sense of community and I believe others feel the same way.
“Creative Break has helped me connect my emotions to my art. Prior to this time, my process was to start with the idea of what I was creating. Starting instead with a feeling and seeing what develops is changing my whole creative process.” – Erinn
Sometimes, I will take what I started in Creative Break and continue working on it after our session. This usually ends up being fun and prolongs the feelings of rejuvenation. Many times I feel better after a Creative Break session. I don’t always have a profound epiphany, but it helps me feel grounded. I have a greater sense of energy that propels me to move forward through the rest of the week. I feel more connected with other people and less isolated, better heard and understood, more resilient.
Through time, our art-making community has become a valuable part of my life, and of those who regularly attend the creative break.
What started with a selfish goal in mind has turned into something that has been a blessing to many people.
Many of us are struggling with challenges that are different now than they were before. So when people hear about Creative Break, they ask me to provide this opportunity for their children. Medical professionals and mental health care providers have also asked if I could do this for them. With that in mind, I have started Art Therapy Creative Break sessions for adults and teens at Art Lab Rx.
Creative Break sessions are held weekdays with groups for teens and others for adults. The one hour sessions are offered through a HIPAA-compliant website in small groups of up to 8 people.
We will have a topic, time for quiet art-making, and time for simple sharing and processing the art in the group.
Come join us for one session or participate every week. Only basic art materials and a quiet place to join us online are needed. For more information please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re waiting to hear from you!
– Lisa Lounsbury, MA, LMFT, ATR-BC, Executive Director of Art Lab Rx, LLC