Art good ther­apy for busy bod­ies

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - By JILL BOOTH

YOU are ex­hausted, run ragged. Wor­ries be­set you and there is never enough time in the day to cram in all the things that need do­ing.

You lurch from job to job, bal­anc­ing needs of chil­dren, part­ners, friends and col­leagues.

But what about you? You know that you will cope bet­ter and en­joy your pre­cious life and fam­ily if you could just have a break and some time to your­self.

En­ter art ther­apy. Pro­fes­sional train­ing in art ther­apy in Aus­tralia is a one or two year full time post­grad­u­ate course of­fered by three uni­ver­si­ties.

Course en­try pre­req­ui­sites are gen­er­ally un­der­grad­u­ate qualifications in medicine, fine art, so­cial work or psy­chol­ogy.

The re­sult of this ex­act­ing pro­fes­sional qual­i­fi­ca­tion is that most ther­a­pists work in the con­trolled en­vi­ron­ments of hos­pi­tals and clin­ics.

But art it­self can be a won­der­ful ther­apy and ex­pe­ri­ence for ev­ery­one, not just for those who are men­tally ill.

Whether you are look­ing for an in­tel­lec­tual in­ter­est, skills train­ing or an out­let for your cre­ative spirit, art in its many forms lies dor­mant within you, just wait­ing to be awo­ken.

Al­most all chil­dren that I have known (and I have taught hun­dreds) have a sense of play, of cu­rios­ity, a de­light in ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and a lack of self-crit­i­cism.

How­ever, as they grow older it of­ten hap­pens that they lose con­fi­dence, feel in­ad­e­quate and sup­press their won­der­ful ideas, born of a free soul and un­fet­tered imag­i­na­tion.

If this sounds rather like you, take heart. It is pos­si­ble, through struc­tured play and “let­ting go” strate­gies, to tran­scend ev­ery­day, ba­nal rou­tines and re­dis­cover that small, cre­ative child who has been with you all along.

The prin­ci­ples that I use when pre­sent­ing my “cre­ative devel­op­ment” or “play group” work­shops are more ef­fec­tive in a group sit­u­a­tion, as the in­di­vid­ual is car­ried along by the mo­men­tum of oth­ers, thus los­ing that self-con­scious­ness that can be so in­hibit­ing and re­stric­tive.

But you can still ben­e­fit from try­ing some of these ideas by your­self - the aim is to get out of your usual com­fort zone and try some­thing dif­fer­ent.

By in­tro­duc­ing a se­ries of very fast and var­ied ac­tiv­i­ties, such as work­ing with clay with eyes closed, danc­ing to salsa mu­sic, hug­ging trees, draw­ing up­side down, paint­ing the space around an ob­ject etc, some con­fu­sion and “over­load” re­sults, whereby cre­ative en­er­gies are given space in which to grow and thrive.

You do not need to show oth­ers what you have been do­ing, so you are not set­ting your­self up for crit­i­cism, how­ever well-mean­ing that may be. From these ten­ta­tive be­gin­nings you will grow in con­fi­dence and en­joy ev­ery moment of giv­ing free­dom to that child within.

If you live in Moss­man or Port Dou­glas you are very for­tu­nate, through DAB and Art­house, to have ac­cess to very in­ex­pen­sive art classes, cour­tesy of Arts Queens­land and Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil.

In Oc­to­ber Go Troppo Arts Fes­ti­val is of­fer­ing a wide va­ri­ety of arts work­shops for your en­joy­ment. They all aim to de­velop cre­ativ­ity as well as skills and all are sure to be en­joy­able. Visit www.go-troppo-arts­fes­ti­val.com/de­scrip­tion-of­work­shops.html

Get busy: art is great ther­apy

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