Art Therapy: A Path to the Unconscious


Feelings and perceptions are often stored in the brain in the form of images.

These feelings can cause discomfort as they are buried in the unconscious for safekeeping.

At times, life events in the present “kick the proverbial bucket” and feelings from the past, together with feelings in the present, cause distress.

Art therapy is all about making the unconscious, conscious.  

Colors, space, lines, strength of colors, can have meanings that go beyond what is “seen”.

The process is called “free association” and is totally personal.

Please take a look at the painting above and sense what you “see”.

Take note of what you feel.  Journal about what you are thinking.

In essence, this is the process of therapeutic use of art in psychotherapy.

The therapist becomes the witness through validation and presence.

Art therapy is not about making art, but about inner processing using art.

Art therapy is about exploring feelings and thoughts in an effort to gain insight into present day challenges.

Judgment is put aside.

Art is for playing and accessing the inner child–the part of the person that is open to creativity and intuition.

The views expressed in these blogs are the author’s own and not necessarily reflective of those of Psychotherapy Matters. 

Anna Sousa
Anna Sousa

Anna is a member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists and the Ontario and Canadian Art Therapy Associations. Her casual and gentle approach is compassionate and caring. She works from the understanding that the therapist’s job is to create the alliance that helps bring awareness to the surface so that people can heal themselves.

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