Art therapy in Covid 19?

Stardate: 17 th day, 4 th month, 2020


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It has now been one month since social restrictions have been put into place in Canada;
exactly one month to the day that my new art psychotherapy studio closed. In an effort to stay
connected with the community, I am posting a weekly blog. With the rising number of
confirmed positive cases of Covid 19 and the staggering number of deaths combined with the
inconsistency of information, it is easy to become overwhelmed.

We humans are travelling on a journey like no other, and our usual coping strategies are being put to the test as physical contact is limited. Being confined is not how we are used to living! Many, like myself, are asking, “how then shall we live?” Of course, there is no easy answer. Living conditions during this pandemic vary greatly from those who are struggling to find food to those who continue working at home or on the front lines. A call has arisen for new forms of fraternity, solidarity and hospitality. “How then shall we live becomes how then shall I live?” What tools could I offer to support my community? As an art psychotherapist, I believe humans are natural problem solvers and have the basic instincts to get us through this global crisis. Creative art expression, in all its forms, is incredibly healing and has the capability of taking us to a less threatening place—one devoid of worry and rich with pleasure.

I wish to extend an invitation to you to try adding one or some of the following coping mechanisms into your daily routines. (These are gleaned from various sources, but tweaked with simple ideas for creative art or writing prompts that might free you from your worries even for a few minutes). I will be posting specific art/writing directives each week for your consideration.

  1. Pray: Regardless of your beliefs and understanding of a higher power, prayer is hugely healing. Try writing your prayers out or painting a symbol of your hopes—Prayer unifies us and helps us not to feel so alone.
  2. Get outdoors: Go for a walk, listen to the birds or how “quiet” your neighborhood is. Fresh air and nature are therapeutic and clear our thinking. You may want to record a special event in an art journal or try composing a little poem…for yourself only.
  3. Keep connected: Stay in touch with family, friends, and co-workers. There are many platforms by which to connect virtually, but try other creative ways such as drive-by’s, snail-mail postcards or letters, talking over the neighbour’s fence, sharing recipes, or reaching out to someone who is alone.
  4. Be grateful: Even amidst this new way of being, there is always something to be grateful for. Try starting your day by writing out a short gratitude list or drawing one thing you are grateful for. Some folks are recognizing the silver lining of slowing down and staying in the moment. We can become more appreciative of the gifts and people who make our lives special. And…there is no time like the present to tell them you love them!