creative catalyst workshops

Three Hints for Emotional Healing

Everyone needs emotional healing.

I facilitate healing creative workshops for a variety of populations. No matter what group I stand before, this is the common thread that runs throughout.

Three hints for healing….

My workshops provide the opportunity to heal. However, I’ve found the happiest participants have three crucial feelings when they walk through the door. Call them the “three C’s”!

Courage

The first is courage. I commend everyone who shows up for a painting class called Art4healing. To some it’s intimidating. It’s a different approach to creative expression and a new, unknown process to explore. I reassure them in two hours they will feel differently. 

Curiosity

The second thing they bring is curiosity. A sense of excitement sets in once the inner critic is silenced. Now it becomes a fun, creative experiment with 16 colors of paint.

Childishness

Normally this is a negative word around adults. But the third and most important thing is a childlike willingness to play. Those who let the child out, benefit the most. Storytelling unfolds with the marriage of colors and strokes. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

Don’t believe healing happens?

Here are two uplifting stories of emotional healing that have made a lasting impression on me. 

Grief turns to color

The first story is about a grieving widow who began her journey ten months ago. The loss of her husband of 60 years left her emotionally depleted. Her hopelessness and despair did not stop her from attending despite outward appearances of depression and ill health. It took guts and grit to come. Week after week, she showed up, sitting in her favorite spot. She painted. She shared. Black, bold strokes filled her canvases. Her husband’s favorite color of green always had a presence.

As time went on, subtle changes occurred. Black changed to gray. Bright colors replaced bold ones. Pastels were added. Warm tones appeared. Her shares became more upbeat and positive. Once she even volunteered to start things off. Her story of healing was remarkable to behold.

Down and out to reaching out

The second story shares details of a homeless veteran readjusting to civilian life. He seemed down and out when he entered the class, outwardly nervous about the fuzzy description of the concept. Knowing he was not alone in his thoughts, he relaxed a bit more. 

As the exercises began, it was apparent to all he had painted before. He embraced the abstract approach with childlike innocence. His artistic ability was unveiled before our eyes. After listening to the stories and shares of others, he clearly communicated the details of his own pieces. I believe he surprised himself with his unexpected creative talent. It lifted his spirits and his confidence. One participant offered him $20 for his large painting and suggested he sell the other two on eBay. This proud Marine, depleted and depressed on arrival, left renewed and elevated. And, I think, one inch taller!

This is why I love what I do

These are two of the most memorable stories I’ve witnessed. They clearly underline the power of art in the emotional healing process. Profound things happen. And, people are changed regardless of the circumstances.

Contact me to find out how you can be part of an emotional healing experience!

Contact Me

Christine Barone teaching art4healing