Telling the story

Ignite Life
December 14, 2015

sand playOn Saturday night I went and saw a screening of the good dinosaur and like every great Disney movie there were many message within. If you are anything like me you spend some time reflecting upon these themes and while I would like to talk about the big Kahuna in this movie – Fear – I might come back to that at another time.

I want to reflect upon a very poignant moment that highlights something really important about life, connection and why art therapy is so powerful.

While I don’t want to give away the storyline but will try and give you an idea of the scene (apologies if this goes too far)

The dinosaur and caveman connect very powerfully in a scene by drawing in the sand and using some sticks to represent their family. They don’t speak the same language but in this moment it became abundantly clear what they were talking about.

The circle surrounding the sticks in the dirt represented their sense of family and the emotional action of a stick being slowly toppled over and buried speaks thousands of words. In that moment the barriers of language had disappeared, they were able to speak through the symbolism, action and truly engage with the meaning in their worlds. It didn’t require words, it was pure connection to the story, the emotional sharing and a symbolic understanding of what was being represented.

Later in the movie the ritualistic drawing of the circle in the sand takes them back to this place and reinforces the meaning and significance of that moment.

And that my friend, is why art therapy is so powerful – it goes beyond words and being able to express the things that are difficult to talk about or hard to find the vocabulary for. The symbolism is a language that doesn’t need a particular dialect, language or accent. The symbolism of the image and the process of what happens with that speaks for itself and provides a safe place to navigate the hard stuff, explore, express and connect with the stories of our lives.

So imagine if your own loss, grief, anxiety, frustration, lack of confidence, anxieties or those things that are really hard to express have a place to be ‘spoken’. The art is a place to truly communicate without needing to discuss but to explore, to understand, to discover and really find a way to unpack what is happening so that you can do what needs to be done to step into your own future.

And that is what I love about art therapy and why I love sharing it with the world.