Visual Therapeutic Arts

"Colour is a power that directly influences the soul" (Wassily Kandinsky)

All images from workshops “Working with the Living Being of the Plant” and “The square as a series - All around in a circle – Creating together” at the international annual conference of the medical section at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland 13 – 18 September 2022, “The heart around us - The importance and meaning of the therapeutic community” as part of the specialist anthroposophic art therapy conference “Point and surroundings – in dialogue with the world. Images courtesy of Nicole Asis, Public Relations, Ali Rabjohns, transpersonal arts counsellor, Elisabeth Körber, art therapist

Each of us is individual, we all have an innate creativity that helps us in very different ways. By drawing on our creative potential, we become co-creators who interact with the world, thereby shaping and changing the way we live.

Visual Therapeutic Arts tap into our creativity, this inner source of life forces. The possibilities are as limitless as creativity itself. William Blake called art “the tree of life”; art indeed has a profound effect on us. Already through simple exploration of art materials our senses are stimulated, here we can engage in our very own individual way. Different colours, their interplay, emerging shapes, lines, light and darkness or manipulating soft, moist clay inspire our mind, soul and spirit. Art has both a physical and a psychological effect on us.

The artistic activity becomes an intimate dialogue, it expands our consciousness where we discover unchartered territory. Here we have to make choices, respond to challenges and find our own unique way. The art process helps us to explore feelings and thoughts when we may struggle to find words to express any emotional or physical distress. Our creative exploration enables us to feel freer and more connected with our inner resources and help us to sense what we need; thus we gain greater awareness of ourselves and our surroundings.

The therapeutic relationship is central to hold and foster the artistic process, in which we can open up, be vulnerable and feel protected. Warmth is essential here to feel comfortable, to be able to develop trust in a warm empathetic relationship. Warmth builds bridges, stimulates our senses and opens us to both ourselves and the world. Within this contained and safe therapeutic space the artwork unfolds, themes emerge, ideas or hidden aspects surface and begin to take shape and speak to us. Our individual artistic process helps to reveal something new; we may feel invigorated and empowered, gain insights or find a deeper meaning in life or feel connected to a greater whole.

The role of different art materials and techniques

A variety of materials are offered in Anthroposophic Visual Therapeutic Arts. The practitioner is also trained to additionally offer specific techniques that will assist in supporting the client’s health and wellbeing as it is considered that each material and technique hold an inherent potential for the client. The pool of art materials has expanded beyond the more traditional paint, crayons, charcoal, clay and collage and may include mixed media, photography, weaving, felt, assemblage or conceptual art etc.