How A Drawing Can Help Heal The Heart of a Child

Standard

When I was a Mental Health Professional working with foster children I relied heavily on my knowledge of art and therapy to coax children to share things that were difficult to talk about. I was always amazed at the amount of trauma that many of these young children endured at such an early age, but I was just as amazed how one drawing could bring joy and evening healing to them.  They were now in a safe place, their foster homes, but they had not healed or talked about their previous trauma. I would meet weekly with these foster children in their foster homes to do therapy. It is difficult to get adults to talk about trauma, let alone a child. So I resorted many times to art as a way to help them express themselves.
On one occasion the 13 year-old boy that I worked with had a bad day at school. He said he was fine, but his body language and tone of voice said otherwise. He agreed to let me draw a pencil portrait of him. I asked him if he wanted to draw me while I drew him. He agreed. As he drew he dug hard and deep with his pencil onto his paper.

He began to loosen up and even smile a little. He was determined to draw me as he saw me. I was a little alarmed when I saw his finished drawing. He drew me as ugly and obviously angry. He wrote “Mrs. Deb releasing anger” on his drawing. By now, he was smiling and laughing and his mood had completely changed. He was then able to tell me about his day at school. He was able to get out his anger by drawing a drawing of me getting MY anger out. He had projected his anger onto me. I marveled at how amazing the process of drawing can assist someone to express something they are not even aware they are feeling. Art can be an open door to our emotions. IMG_2308
Art is a tool that can be used to soothe and heal a heart. How many times do we doodle while in a meeting or a lecture. It keeps us calm and enables us to stay sane.

Perhaps you are feeling sad, or anxious, mad or afraid about something. It may be difficult to talk about it or resolve it. Try drawing what you are feeling. Don’t analyze before you draw, just draw what you are feeling or what comes to mind. Try not to think too much about it. Once you are finished with your drawing you may understand something new about yourself or the situation. In any case, you should feel better just by drawing. It certainly cannot hurt.
There are exercises that one can do to explore and express the world of our emotions. Art used in this way is a tool, not necessarily a work of beauty,(although it can be) but of expression. That expression can bring insight and understanding to our hearts. In future posts I will give other examples and exercises for you to try. IMG_2309

For examples of my art work you can visit my website and etsy store.

www.etsy.com/shop/expressivepaintings

www.deborah-nell.artistwebsites.com

Advertisements

About strawbalenell

I'm a fulltime artist who paints primarily on Yupo paper. I use acrylic inks, acrylic paint and gouache. I've been painting on and off since I was eight years old. In 2007 I began taking my art seriously after a dream and a set of circumstances. I paint intuitively and don't know ahead of time what I'm going to paint. I choose some colors and listen to Christian worship music as I paint. The paper I use, Yupo paper does not absorb the paint into the paper. The paint evaporates. That's how it dries. When it is wet, the paint will move on the paper and gives you lots of interesting textures. I eventually see an image in the paint and then further define it. I depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit to guide me. If an image does not work, I simply wipe it off and start over.

3 responses »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s