Posts Tagged ‘Art Therapy’

Soul Play: Painting from the Soul

March 5th, 2022

Welcome to Soul Play: Painting from the Soul

It takes courage to witness the unfolding of the unknown, moment by moment. Like a flower opening, petal by petal, to reveal its inner beauty, slowly we open to our deeper selves. The painting process guides us deeper into the unknowing so we may know more of who we really are, one with the creative source. 

Can we do deep work lightly? Let’s play!

How does the process work?

We will use tools from Heartwork throughout the process (please familiarize yourself with Heartwork tools here: )

~ We will start with setting your intention
~ Then mediation will guide you to go deeper
~ Unwinding will allow for bodily expression
~ Commence the painting!
~ Inquiry will deepen the understanding of how the painting process is often a refection of our own stuff
~ Final Reflection and closing

What am I supposed to do?

LISTEN. period

You will have a blank paper, brushes and paint. Your “work” is to LISTEN.

Can you come to the painting process like a child open and curious? What might happen then? What color do you want to use? Where does the brush want to go on the page? What has energy? What feels satisfying? What repels? What makes you tired? What excites you and gives you juice? What would you paint if no one would see it? What might you paint more or make bigger? What tiny things are calling to be expressed? Can you hold the space for all of it? Can you allow the collective unconscious to bubble up in your work? What happens when you bump up against judgements or desires to run away from things that feel uncomfortable, and you stay? What happens when you lean into that discomfort? What if you did more of what made you feel uncomfortable? Instead of covering something up or abandoning the image, what if you embraced that shadowy part? What if you listened deeply to your body- to your soul, and just stayed present with it all? Where might that lead you in the painting process? What might you discover?

What are the “rules”?

There is only ONE rule, and that is not to comment on other’s artwork. This provides a safe container for everything and anything to show up without censorship or judgement.

What happens when I get stuck?

Ask for support! LOL

You’ll let the facilitator know you need some help by waving/ raising your hand. The group members can use the inquiry process to ask questions to deepen the painter’s experience.

Here’s some gentle suggestions to guide the inquiry process:

Remember the “ONE rule”? We don’t comment on the painting. Commenting on the painting is saying things such as “I like it, it’s nice, it looks like you painted a __. It reminds me of a painting I did, let me tell you about it. I wish I could paint like that. What did you make? Why did you do that? Is that a mistake? I know what you can do to make it better/ fix it”

How can you help the painter if you cannot comment on the painting?

You can ask the painter questions! Before you ask a question of the painter, pause and take a breath. Drop into your soft body. Reflect, ask yourself will this question help the painter deepen their exploration and self-discovery?

If the painter is asking for support and you’d like to contribute, ask the painter if they are open to you asking a question.

The painter can respond, “yes, they are open to a question or no, thank you”. Easy Peasy

When the painter feels like they are done with questions they will let the group members know they are complete, such as “thank you for sharing, I have what I need or I am done now”.

What questions do I ask?

Inquiry questions that expand the painter’s experience and plumb the deeper levels of their true nature. Ummm, that sounds kinda hard!
Understandable, listen to your intuition and be open and curious. Some questions listed the the LISTEN section can be helpful.

Be mindful that asking “why” questions may paint you in the corner; instead let’s explore the “why not”.

What if I don’t want to talk or ask questions?

Well, then just paint! Your work is to listen deeply enough to your own creative source and follow its guidance. Share, don’t share, turn the volume down, listen to other’s explorations- all are welcome.

What happens when I’m done with a painting?

Please let the facilitator know you are feeling done so a completion conversation can happen. This is a dialogue to see if there are any places in the painting that need more attention. Sometimes when the painter feels done, additional inquiry will open a whole new door to discovery.

What materials do I need?

What materials do you have on hand? You can start there. If you want to buy some paint liquid tempura works well or fluid acrylic paint. You can buy Dick Blick tempura, or Golden and Liquitix brand paints. The dollar store sells Prang paints, they aren’t as high quality, but will do. Get some various size brushes, paint trays (ice cube trays, meat trays, plastic plates, wax paper all work), water container, paper towels, painters tape and paper.

Ideal paper size is 26 X 20 and any type of paper for paint will work. However, the best quality is 26 X 20 80 lb. vellum bristol paper. You can order that paper here:

How do I set up my space?

You space doesn’t have to be big, the back of a door or part of a wall can be a painting spot. Cardboard, shipping paper, or plastic table cloths are helpful to use as a backdrop. Use painter tape or masking tape and tape the backdrop to the wall or a door, then tape paper to backdrop (unless you have a spot that can get messy). Paint drips, so you may want to protect the floor with a drop cloth or cardboard.

Have a place to put your computer or tablet on- such as a small table, a bar chair or step ladder. We will spend time talking and mediating together, so having a chair to sit in will be necessary, before we begin painting. When we begin painting you’ll point your computer to your painting so we can see both your paper and you while you’re painting. You can paint sitting down or standing up, and maybe a bit of both.

Nothing fancy here! This is my set-up using a plastic table cloth from the dollar store

Is Soul Play Therapy?

Art making is indeed therapeutic, however Soul Play is not intended to be a therapy substitute. It’s an open ended creative source deep dive that may stir up your stuff. Paint At Your Own Risk!

I’ll send everyone a Zoom link shortly before we meet. If you have questions, I’m here to help 🙂 Email me at

This is an exploration, all of us playing, learning and discovering in this collective soup of unknowing. Let’s mix paint and have some fun!


Listening with your heART

July 26th, 2012

Sometimes there is a disconnect in your relationships. Someone says something that triggers a feeling of vulnerability or you are feeling so stressed out you say or do things that are hurtful. What’s powerful to understand is that having a healthy relationship is not about avoiding conflict or being a “perfect” family. You can EXHALE because there is no such thing- perfect families are like unicorns, a beautiful mythical idea that has yet to be discovered. Instead, of chasing the elusive unicorn, you can learn from the perfectly imperfect relationships in your life by listening to your heART.

Here are 7 ways you can listen to your heART, connect with your creativity, and have more meaningful relationships with those people in your life. The cool thing is you can share this process with your children and help them to tune into their heART to help guide them with difficult stuff like peer pressure and conflict.

  1. Claim some time for you to breathe, feel, and process. You may need to designate some time during the day, get up early or stay up a little bit later, but carve out a few minutes a day where you unplug (literally).
  2. Close your eyes and feel your body, connect with your breath, feel yourself supported in the chair you are sitting in.
  3. Visualize your heart space (the place in your body where your heart resides). Fully feel that area of your body without judgments, just acknowledge and release any positive or negative thoughts.
  4. Sit in the fullness of this moment, connecting with whatever thoughts or feelings come up.
  5. Should you need guidance with a way to handle a situation or manage problems ask your heart for guidance.
  6. Breathe and continue to focus on your heart space.
  7. When you are ready take a piece of paper, canvas, or modeling clay, and allow yourself to create an image or symbol of what you felt in the process of connecting with your heart space. If you are struggling with creating an image or symbol, release any judgment and allow yourself to pick a color that resonates with you. When you are finished making art take a minute to explore what you created (you can journal about or just reflect on the process).

Allow the wisdom of what you created to guide you in your relationships and decisions. When difficulties arise take a deep breath and reconnect with the visual image you created or connect with your heart space and ask for guidance.

Notice that as you shift in your response to others, others will shift in their response to you.

Do you want to learn about Raising Confident Children Through Mediation? The join our upcoming International Parents & Professionals Community Members Only Call on August 28th where we interview Guest Expert Heather Chauvin. Join us for this rocking call by clicking here

 Plus, join the IPPC from now until August 31 st 2012 and you’ll get a F-R-E-E- Bonus Audio!!

Enjoy the Creativity Queen’s Superfabulicious Self-Soothing CD (mp3 digital download). This 30-minute audio teaches children relaxation techniques as it takes them on a guided imaginary journey to learn how to self-calm. Fun, imaginative & relaxing, this audio is a perfect way to help calm busy minds. Appropriate for ages 4 and up.

Click here for all of the Superfabulicious benefits of the IPPC.


Are You a Creativity Queen?

June 6th, 2012

Creativity Queen, are you one? Well that’s a a big question to ask! Hmm…

As a Creativity Queen you:

listen to your inner creative longings and hear what your heart has to say,

take time to play and act silly, so much so that your loved ones roll their eyes in embarrassment,

lovingly speak your truth even when it feels super sucky,

listen with your soul to others and yourself,

laugh so hard things come out of your nose,

treat your body like it’s a friend and love even the parts you want to look away from,

remember that the only one you can please is yourself,

savor the really good things in life like the morning good-bye kisses and licking melted chocolate off of your fingers,

recharge in beauty, nature, sensuality, and solitude- coming back to center so you can connect with others more deeply,

know that creativity is more that making art and you flex your creative muscle throughout the day,

listen to the rhythms and cycles in your life, flowing and surrendering to what is and letting go of expectations and shoulds,

catch the mean bully in your mind saying bad things about you and tell it to take a hike,

you are wise enough to know better and compassionate enough to accept what is,

babies can’t help but smile at you, and animals want to follow you..

As a Creativity Queen you_______ (insert your creative goodness here:)

…so tell me dear sparkly soul sister are you a Creativity Queen?

Need to reconnect with your creative sparkly self?


Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Art Therapy For Depression

November 11th, 2011

child depressedIf you are suffering from depression there has been a tremendous amount of research that suggests that Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is an effective form of treatment. The recent research on positive psychology that suggests it may be complementary to CBT interventions as it relates to depression. Moreover, how can we use art therapy to reinforce these theories and interventions?

Garratt, Ilardi, and Karwoski (2006) offer a compelling article on the integration of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and positive psychology for the treatment of depression. The authors present the two primary goals of cognitive behavioral therapy, modifying dysfunctional thoughts and creating long-term cognitive skills to reduce relapse. The meteoric popularity of CBT as a treatment modality arose with Beck’s research of CBT and depression. However, studies suggest that long-term recovery is sustained in less than half of the clients who receive CBT for treatment of depression. It is the implication of long term success with clients that leads the authors to explore the principles of positive psychology as it relates to cognitive behavioral therapy.

The article suggests the conceptual overlap between CBT interventions and positive psychology approach, including a strong therapeutic alliance, focus on distinct goals, here-and-now focus, cognitive reappraisal, and client collaboration. Moreover, the authors suggest there is an overlap in techniques that are congruent in both CBT and positive psychology. Both encourage pleasant activities scheduling, identifying and reviewing success experiences, mood monitoring, relaxation training, and problem-solving. The authors suggest that positive psychology can provide CBT with the opportunities to move beyond removing negative affect, consequently moving the client towards positive affect, influencing quality of life. The positive psychology constructs that could blend with CBT to reduce depression and enhance over all well-being include: capitalizing on strengths, instilling hope, flow (being absorbed in the moment while engaged in an activity), mindfulness (being fully present), addressing unsolvable problems, optimism training, meaning, physical exercise, and humor.

The aforementioned interventions blend well with art therapy. Using art the art therapist can capitalize on the inherent creative strengths of the individual. Creating a picture of what the individual can imagine as a possible positive outcome can instill a sense of hope and provide a tangible road map to achieve their goals. Flow and mindfulness occurs when the individual is fully present in the creative process and is often accomplished in an art therapy session. The art making process can be used to explore choices for problems that appear unsolvable, and create meaning and purpose for the individual. Therefore, art therapy offers a bridge to CBT and positive psychology by the process of using therapeutic art interventions that reinforce the tenants of these two theories.

If you live the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton area child art therapy can help your child develop new coping strategies to overcome their depression . To learn more sign-up for your complimentary child support consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download and implement to help your child. You can lean more here .


Child Depression: 3 Creative Art Therapy Coping Strategies to Help Your Child with Depression

September 22nd, 2011

Children with depression: art therapy can help!

As featured on  PBS This Emotional Life

Depression in children and adolescents impacts 11.2 percent of children 13 to 18 years of age in the U.S. according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and 3.3 percent have experienced seriously debilitating symptoms of depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 3.7 percent of children between the ages of 8 and 15 have a mood disorder, with girls being diagnosed more frequently than boys and that treatment works for depression.

Children’s depression can look different than adult depression. Depression in children Symptoms of child depression: your child is not acting like him/herself, if he/she is lethargic and have lost interest in activities that once made them happy, if he/she is overly clingy, frequently reporting feeling sick, refusing to go to school or get in trouble at school, sleeping excessively or is excessively moody, there may be something more happening with your child.

So what course of action or treatment should you take if your child is suffering from depression? The Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The latest research suggests therapy and medication may be the most rapid form of effective treatment for childhood depression, although over time therapy alone is just as successful.

The Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) therapy alone, medication alone, combined medication and cognitive behavior therapy treatment and placebo (sugar pill) treatments for adolescents 12 to 17 with depression. The combination of medication and therapy worked the most rapidly, although therapeutic treatment alone over months has a similar impact to the combination of therapy and medications. 

What is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) evidenced-based mental health treatment for children? How can it help your child to overcome the challenges of depression? CBT treatment for depression is a therapy that teaches an individual how to manage their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings through education while testing new behaviors and assumptions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, treatment may include learning how to set realistic and positive personal goals, encourage participation in pleasant activities, discourage negative thoughts, solve social problems, negotiate and compromise when conflicts arise, and foster assertiveness.

If you feel that your child is just starting to demonstrate signs of depression and you’d like to begin the process of helping them manage their feelings, try any of these three art therapy coping strategies. Depression is serious, so consult a professional if your child is exhibiting signs of depression.

1. Design a creativity journal. Go shopping with your child and pick out a journal they like, or go to the arts and crafts store and find a blank artists journal and create an individualized cover using magazine images, old greeting cards, wallpaper samples, or scrapbook papers. Embellish with unique words and images that represent your child. Let your child know this is a safe place for them to express their thoughts and feelings without feeling like they have to censor words and images.

2. Create a feelings box. Something as simple as a shoebox can be decorated with images or words that feel empowering. Allow your child to use the box as a safe place to put their worries, anger, anxiety, fears, and frustrations. Cut up slips of paper and add words or images of things that bother your child, and then have your child add these to their feelings box and “close the lid” as they let those feelings go. This teaches your child to respectfully acknowledge their feelings and let them go.

3. Make a mask. Go to the arts and crafts store and find a papier-mâché mask, or for younger children you can use a paper plate or craft paper and cut out a mask shape. Ask your child to create an art image of what they choose to show other people on the outside of the mask, and what they keep to themselves in the inside of the mask. Younger children may need to have this modified by asking them to create on the inside of the mask what makes they sad or choose a color that represent how they feel when they are sad and on outside of the mask choose images or colors of feeling strong, brave, or happy.

Often children and teens feel like they have to mask their feelings so they do not upset others. Allow your child to create their masks without censorship. Ask your child to tell you about it if they choose to, then listen without judgment.

Seeking professional help is essential for a child who is experiencing depression. As a parent look for therapists who specialize in working with children and adolescents, and who utilize cognitive behavioral therapies that teach your child appropriate ways to positively express their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Children and teens respond positively to art therapy and an art therapist can help your child manage their depression, especially if they use cognitive behavioral therapy in art therapy. If your child is depressed and you are in need of child therapy in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Venice Florida, art therapy can help. Schedule your complimentary Support Consultation here.


Art in therapy: Why children use art naturally in child therapy

August 1st, 2011

Why is art therapy and the creative process something that children naturally want to engage in? What’s the reason we create, and why do we all have an urge to express ourselves?

You may not believe you are creative, but if you look at your daily activities, there are creative ways you express yourself and you may not even be aware. These creative activities may involve the love of making a delicious meal from scratch, tending to a garden, decorating your home, designing spreadsheets to keep track of your activities, creating innovative systems, planning a getaway excursion, or enjoying the delight of singing or dancing (among other creative pursuits).

The author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a pioneer in positive psychology and author of the book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention writes about creative process called “flow”. Flow occurs when we are engaged in a creative activity where we engage in the process of performing a task, immersed in the feeling of focus and full engagement (often leading to sense of losing track of time). He explored what makes life worth living and how when we engage our creativity we achieve a sense of satisfaction and pleasure.

Cathy Malchiodi, art therapy pioneer examines the question in  Psychology Today ,  exploring what is art for, and why do we engage in the creative process across the globe and throughout the ages.

Both authors note the inherent need for creativity as a means of connection, pleasure, engagement, transcendence, and self-expression. Naturally, children gravitate to creative activities for play, processing ideas, developing mastery, pure pleasure and delight of exploration and expression. So it makes sense when a child is in therapy and they are naturally drawn to the art materials, toys, and creative activities where they can express themselves. Therapy can be a daunting experience, regardless of your age, and for children coming to therapy art provides a way to easily engage the child, and this expands across economic strata and cultural differences. As adults we can learn much from children’s  natural expression of their creativity and easy engagement in the process of “flow”.

Want to connect with your creative flow? Try a new class, take a dance class or exercise class, join the swim group, explore a watercolor class, gardening class, writing class, photography class, or cooking class. Whatever you enjoy spend an afternoon immersed in exploring, dive into the creative process further and then journal about what you discovered about yourself and the process.


Child therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics…oh my!

June 23rd, 2011

Parents often wonder what’s the difference between child therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, psychology, and psychiatry? Don’t worry, for most people it’s a bit confusing to differentiate these professions. I’ll give you a brief overview to make the differentiation easier to understand.

Pediatricians are your child’s primary care physician, if your child is exhibiting developmental issues a developmental pediatrician can provide and in-depth assessment of you child’s development (physical, cognitive, social, and emotional).

Psychotherapy encompasses the various ways your child receives support to improve their mental health, this may include services such as social work, counseling, psychology, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, dance therapy, play therapy, and psychiatric nursing and counseling psychology. Essentially psychotherapy is a fancy work fro therapy.

Psychiatrists prescribe psychotropic medication for mental health symptoms and some psychiatrists also provide psychotherapy. In some states Psychologists may prescribe medications with a special license, and psychiatric nurses and your child’s pediatric also can prescribe medications.

Psychologists provide mental health and cognitive assessments/evaluations and may also provide psychotherapy.

Creative arts therapists such as art therapy and music therapy are trained therapists in a specific modality. This requires advanced training and often a board certification to practice these specialized modalities.

Not sure where to start to help your child? We can help. Click here to schedule your child Support Consultation.


How to help your child improve their self-esteem~ these creative ideas can help

June 20th, 2011

Worried about your child’s self-esteem? Here are some self-esteem boosting activities:

Positive psychology research validates increased sense of optimism and happiness from using your strengths in new a novel ways on a daily basis. If you don’t know what your child’s personal strengths are take a moment to think of what activities they love to do, and can spend endless hours engaged in.

Encourage your child to explore new ways of engaging in similar types of activities. For instance if your child is creative and likes to build using legos, encourage them to build something with new and novel materials, such as duct tape or popsicle sticks. They will develop a sense of mastery and competency, while enhancing their creative problem solving abilities, all enhancing a sense of self-esteem.

Children’s self-esteem is also linked to developing internal qualities, such as compassion, and caring. Ask your child to make an image of themselves and write out all the things they do and like, describing external qualities such as I am a good soccer player, and then ask them to describe their internal qualities, such as smart, funny, generous.

Children often don’t recognize the internal qualities, and as a parent you can help them see the value in their unique personal attributes, and acknowledge when they are using these qualities. Parents can support their children self-esteem by recognizing when their child is accessing their internal qualities, such as being generous, kind or funny. Don’t forget to model these behaviors too!

Needs some more support to help your child? We can help! Click here to schedule a complimentary Child Support Consultation and learn more


Art Therapy: Using Art as A Tool to Help Your Child

June 9th, 2011

Sarah was an unforgettable girl. She was a tall lanky teenager with as many piercings on her face as freckles. She was a student in an alternative high school where I worked. I can still picture Sarah today in her baggy pants, ripped clothes and colored hair. She was one of those students who wore her anger and sadness like a badge.

Everyone knew Sarah had a rough time. She had even threatened to kill herself a year earlier. The clothes and the personal history made it easy for Sarah to be left alone, and she said that’s what she wanted.

A natural artist and freethinker, Sarah was recommended for art therapy by a concerned teacher. She strolled into our first session, unloaded her books and grabbed some clay. Quietly she molded the clay. For the first month we sat mostly in silence as she formed the clay into angry mask-like faces. I accepted what she gave me unconditionally, knowing there was more to Sarah than angry masks. I waited for weeks until the time was right. I asked Sarah, “What’s behind the mask?…If you took away the angry mask what would there be?” Sarah sat quietly looking at her clay. A long pause, a sigh, her brown eyes rimmed with tears, “ I don’t know”. Our journey together had begun.

Sarah, like many kids I’ve worked with over the years, embraced art. Even with so many let downs and mixed emotions, she was able to let go and risk show who she was through her artistic creations. I witnessed Sarah bloom from lost teen to graduating Senior. Her artwork changed too. From dark pictures and angry masks to bright colored painting she proudly gave to friends and family. She had finally found a way to give of herself and to be accepted.

Years later I got a phone call. Sarah wanted to meet for lunch. That day I walked in to see the butterfly Sarah had become. Her face was glowing. She looked so happy and healthy. Her pink outfit mirrored her wonderful transformation from anger to acceptance.

We ate, laughed, listened, and knew silently that we were part of a journey that had brought us to this place. I felt grateful to have witnessed Sarah’s transformations.

Art Therapists working with children share the hopes of all parents. Our goal is to help children discover their inner beauty and potential. For many people, this journey to self-acceptance requires special support.

I saw Sarah again several years later. She was visiting home briefly and had changed schools. She was going to study counseling. She told me she was going to make a difference in somebody’s life. I nodded and smiled, knowing that she already had.


Mandala Mondays- Valentine’s celebration of your delicious self

February 14th, 2011

It’s Mandala Mondays-  self- loving day! Wahoo 🙂

Oh, beautiful glorious being……your soul opens up at this moment to welcome you home!







Imperfectly Perfect


What Valentine’s Day gift would you give yourself on this luscious day of self love?

More patience, peace in your heart, a moment to relax in the sunshine and see the long shadows of the day across your window pane.

What if,

at this moment,

you decided all that really mattered was self-love, quite kindness, and simply being unafraid of being who you are at your divine core.

Then what?