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  • Writer's pictureLynn Cukaj

Art Therapy Technique to Manage Emotions

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

By Lynn Cukaj, ATR-BC, MHC-LP www.CreativeExpressionsConsulting.com

Art Therapy for Children, Teenagers and Adults

We are living through a time of uncertainty and are often confronted by our own unsettling thoughts. These thoughts can be intrusive and become obsessive which makes it difficult for us to gain control of our feelings. What can we do to manage our anxiety during a time of uncertainty?


Many parents can remember feeling a sense of anticipation for the new school year with excitement over new supplies and clothes, having a new teacher and classmates, and watching their child hop on the bus. Since COVID however, these emotions have shifted, and many parents now feel apprehensive about the upcoming school year. There is anxiety about the uncertainties and frustration about the circumstances, diluting the joy of this once joyful time with fear and other negative emotions. It's entirely normal to experience these mixed emotions, but knowing how to manage them becomes crucial.


Many adults often overlook the fact that emotions live on a continuum. Although the continuum fluctuates based on the environment and circumstances, most individuals are fully capable of managing their emotions. This requires a willingness to grow and adopt a growth mindset, which empowers individuals to handle their emotions with dedication and self-improvement. Through my work with individuals, I've emphasized proactive approaches to emotion management, equipping them to better navigate challenges as they arise. Strengthening this skill set is possible through self-reflection, meditation, and engaging in Art Therapy techniques.


Next time you think to yourself, “today is going to be terrible”, just remember that you are giving up ownership of your feelings and emotions to a circumstance.

When children learn about emotions, we teach them that it is normal to feel multiple emotions at the same time. For example, a child can feel excited, sad, and nervous about starting a new school year. Art Therapy techniques can help children identify their feelings and learn how to manage them at a young age.


Art Therapy Technique for Emotional Resilience


Discover a powerful technique for exploring and comprehending your complex emotions through a drawing exercise. This practice not only encourages kinesthetic release but also offers meditative benefits.


Materials:

  • Copy/drawing paper or construction paper

  • Masking tape or painters tape (make sure it peels right off)

  • Drawing utensils: colored pencils, oil pastels, markers, and/or crayons

Instructions:

  1. Choose colors that you either find relaxing or colors that represent the current emotion that you are feeling. You may use a variety or range of colors for this project.

  2. Place the tape on the piece of paper creating an abstract linear design.

  3. Use the different types of writing/drawing utensils to draw lines across the page and over the tape. Note: To enhance your meditative experience, incorporate breath-work. Breathe in to the count of 7 while drawing across the page and then turn the direction as you breathe out to the count of 7.

  4. Once you feel that you have acknowledged and released emotions that are no longer serving you, remove the tape. In the white space, write positive statements or "I Am" affirmations. You can also fill this space with emotions that you were experiencing during the process and/or your current emotional state.


After completing this Art Therapy exercise, you should feel some sense of relief. Through this therapeutic process, you are identifying and releasing emotions, strengthening a growth-mindset.



 

For more therapeutic activities and resources on how to incorporate Art Therapy into your life, read more from Lynn's Creative Expressions Blog.

Learn more about Art Therapy and Lynn Cukaj, Board Certified Art Therapist here: www.CreativeExpressionsConsulting.com

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