Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The art of healing

Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.

At ETD, we use the art of theatre to help people share their experiences of mental illness, and to understand and have empathy of these issues.
But theatre and drama therapy are only the tip of the art therapy iceberg.  Finding the medium that speaks to you, and then using that medium to explore your own experience of mental illness, can be a wonderful and rewarding experience.  More then that, it can help you to become a healthier person too. 

There are countless organizations and licensed art therapists who can help people to find better peace of mind through the creative process. This
links page from art-therapy.us is a great place to begin to learn more.

But I would like to take a minute to highlight one outstanding organization local to the Chicago area.

The Awakenings Project
"is a grass-roots initiative whose mission is to assist artists with psychiatric illnesses in developing their craft and finding an outlet for their creative abilities through art in all forms."

Awakenings is a peer-run coalition of artists with mental illness. The project curates gallery showings, publishes a literary review, holds weekly meetings for writers and fine artits, and creates a supportive community for artists living with mental illness.


ETD was privileged to partner with the Awakenings Project when we had our annual showcase event at Flourish Studios last spring. For more information or to participate in the Awakenings Project, visit them at awakeningsproject.org

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