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Image of Beeswax Workshop run by Art Pharmacy. Photo by Jodie Baker.

28.09.21 |

The Healing Power of Art

This week we chat to Art Therapist, Elise Slater, about the potential of healing, mindfulness and connection arts can have on individuals and communities.

Remember when you were young and would draw, paint and run wild with crayons, textas and pencils.

When you were not held back by fear of judgement or imperfection.

Creativity was fostered and ideas were taken in all new directions.

And you could be still and present; just letting your imagination take you places.

This is the power we know art projects can have.

As art consultants the essence of what we do is to engage our audience to think differently and to be more mindful of place and community.

This week we chatted to Art Therapist, Elise Slater from Live Softly about the potential of healing, mindfulness and connection arts can have on individuals and communities.

Elise talked to us about her practice as a Transpersonal Art Therapist and where it all started. She spoke about the positive experience art had in helping her heal from her eating disorder that made her start her journey into art therapy. Today Elise works with all kinds of clients, working individually with people with eating disorders, mental health concerns and NDIS clients, through to group art therapy in women's circles, corporate groups, and public hospital wards. Elise says art has the power to create meaning out of struggle and bring magic and purpose back into people's lives. The thing that is so special to Art Therapy is that the experience is unique to everyone and the possibility of “finding parts of ourselves we may have lost”

"So many people are put off art at a young age but anyone can benefit from engaging with art therapy, you don’t have to be good at it, that's not the point, it's about tapping into our creative selves - this process is so important and engages an element of play….. It also has the power to bring communities and people together" Elise Slater | Live Softly

Elise has watched her practice grow and grow over the past few years and the Art Therapy community explode as people are seeing the value of getting in touch with this side of themselves. Elise’s process is deeply personal and different from usual clinical therapy. The positive response she has found to healing in a creative way has been astronomical.

We are seeing more and more people engaging in art therapy groups online and enquiring about creative therapies to assist in them living full and flourishing lives. Art as a form of creative therapy and group therapy is becoming much more common and recognised. Not only is this encouraging people to be vulnerable, create and try something new, it is also helping people to access their own creativity and breaking down the barriers to the elitist, white cube gallery model that can be common in the art world.

When we chatted to Elise about what she would like to see more of in the public realm she said “bringing in a deeper connection with the land. Public art needs to explore connection to nature and the environment…. Nature and wellness are so interconnected, we have lost knowledge that we can learn from the Elders connection to the land”

She also spoke of how Art Therapy should become more part of the community consultation process of large projects. “Bringing together people to talk about art, can result in a more democratic process that produces much more creative and unexpected outcomes”. When working with diverse groups from all different backgrounds it can be hard to relate on a literary or spoken basis this is where art can come in to help better communicate thoughts and articulate ideas. Elise says that this will also create a more receptive and engaging final outcome that can “Help people see through other others eyes with more empathy and understanding”

At Art Pharmacy, we believe that art has the power to add greater value, connection and meaning to our lives.

Art speaks as the voice of society and can facilitate tolerance, spark creative problem solving and communicate important messages to help change our world. Art is something that bridges gaps, negates differences and builds stronger communities. A world with more art is a more reflective, mindful, understanding and interesting place.

While Elise experiences this on a personal level with her clients, we strive to create these impactful changes in all the communities we work with every day.

You can check out Elise Slaters practice here: https://www.eliseslater.com/

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