Lab 10: Mental Health and Artistic Expression

In today’s lab we used art to express our internal emotions. 
The stations included Expressive Media, sculpting, finger painting, rhythym circle and self-evaluations. These activities can be an outlet for individual’s who may not be as comfortable expressing their emotions in words.  

In the finger painting table, we were suppose to paint how we feel on the inside. I like this activity because we can be as expressive as we feel using our hands and colors. The artwork also does not have to be perfect and because it is finger painting, everyone’s work will almost look child like. Finger painting can be good for many mental health populations such as children, elderly, learning disabilities or autism spectrum disorder.

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In my artwork, I drew an ocean because I feel like water and ocean is a very big part of my life. I grew up by the ocean and whenever I look at it it makes me feel calm. In contrast, I drew fireworks, because sometimes I feel like I have a lot of energy and feel excited and energetic. I also drew musical notes because music is a big part of my life and I always have a tune in my head. 

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Scultping:
I found this activity particularly difficult as it asked for us to sculpt a self-portrait of how we believe others perceive us. This type of activity may be difficult for individuals with self-image problems/ body dysmorphia or eating disorders as a symptom of their disorder is believing that others think they look different than they look in reality. This may make individuals like this feel vulnerable and self-conscious, especially in a group setting. This may be an activity that an OT would want to carefully grade into therapeutic sessions. 
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The last station was a rhythm station. We were all provided an instrument and told to use these sounds to express our feelings. My group and I ended up making collaborative sounds of a rain and a thunderstorm. The instruments are all different and easy to play so there is little expectation of skills needed. This type of therapy could be particularly useful to use with children or the elderly. 

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Overall, art and music is a creative and wonderful way for individuals to express their mental state. Art and music can also act as an emotional outlet and could be a cathartic experience. However, I could also see this method of therapy being very difficult to implement with those who are self-conscious or are very logical in their expressions. Comparatively, for those who embrace their ‘right-side’ of their brain, this could be a very meaningful and productive therapeutic activity. 

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