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Trish E. Vernazza, M.A., MFT, ATR-BC Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Board Certified Art Therapist #03-066

On-line Art Boutique and Gallery:
www.VisionsofVenus.com www.VisionsofVenus.etsy.com

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Art Therapy

Art Therapy is grounded in the belief that the creative process involved in making of art is healing and life enhancing.

    Art therapy is the facilitated use of art making to promote positive growth for people who experience illness, adversity, trauma or challenges in living, and for people who seek personal and professional development.  Creative expressive arts experiences have proven to be inherently curative and growth promoting.

   Art therapists are knowledgeable about art methods, creativity, human development, psychological theory and clinical practice, spiritual and cultural traditions, and the healing properties inherent in art materials and processes.  They provide individual, group, family, couples and community art therapy sessions and workshops.  They provide professional consultations to allied professionals, perform art-based assessments, and conduct research.

 Art therapy is regulated in the U.S. by voluntary compliance with the standards of two national organizations.  The American Art Therapy Association, Inc which sets educational, professional, and ethical standards for its members.  

 Art therapy allows the silenced voice to be seen and heard through personal vision creations.  The muted voice becomes a  loud expression of emotions, feelings, personal meanings, thoughts, dreams,  struggle and survival through color, construction of drawings, painting, sculpture,  poetry, music, dance,  storytelling and performance art .  Many of the images that are  manifested  release  the fear of anger .  This leads to  confrontation of  difficult issues of identity, sexual and physical abuse, self-esteem, de-evaluation  along with the individuals personal meaning of power in society.   Symbolic imagery appears represent time, space and the self.  Deeply ingrained psychological barriers surface as examination of self-empowerment is explored.  Empowerment is the essential characteristic of recovery.  

  Art offers the protective framework, balancing a boundary between make-believe and reality, which allows the individual to test themselves while exploring self-growth potential.    It crosses over boundaries of cultures, communication, language skills and all levels of education allowing each individual to participate to their own ability.   It has the advantage  of bypassing defenses such as avoidance, distance, denial, non-accountability while it promotes and supports unconscious disclosure on personal issues.   This growth process is not a simple linear step rather one of a recycling, circular movement of experiences put forth by the client and acknowledge by the art therapist.

Often art is autobiographical, like a journal, reflects the mood of the creator.  On one day we see our life in a way that may not be apparent on the next as our moods change.

 Although moods are not permanent, habitually depressed moods become subjects for clinical treatment.   The sufferer may be agitated or withdrawn and apathetic, suicidally acting on a sudden impulse or a meticulous plan.   There is also the possibility of a dangerous state of self-neglect.  

 Individuals who use art therapy can withdraw into the art process using their artwork to accompany them on the journey back to mental health.  Wordless insights can result from insignificant applications of art materials in which the creator and the art therapist can follow the symbolic images.     
  Art that we describe as original and creative contains images of the artist's inner and outer reality.  The inner reality we call subjective, or symbolic while the external appearance of inner life we see as its objective or traditional aspect.  The proportions of inner and outer are adjusted according to the artist's mood.  This inevitability shapes their art style.  
  All creative art is symbolic with its images reaching beyond our powers of description.  The opportunity to realize symbolic meaning in a work of art is dependent upon a mood that allows for varying ways of looking at things, and a ability to respond differently to the same object or person and to accept that we can feel differently towards the same thing.  Once a thought or a emotion is fully determined it is no longer used as a symbol.  It can be used a source to activate us to understand our feelings, change our responses and evoke action to implant a future different response.  

   I am an art therapist offering private sessions for adolescents and individuals.  All art materials are provided, and no training or skill is needed.


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