New Year’s Resolution & Art Therapy
What is the new year going to bring for me, for my family, my job, my love life…?
The first days of January seem to have a special trace of magic about them. While it does wear off, they can have a profound impact on our lives.
Is it just wishful thinking or putting your heart and mind in the right direction?
What would you like to continue into this year, from last year, a good practice or habit, something you have learned about yourself or the world from an incredibly challenging past few years?
Take a moment to get truly honest with yourself. What is it that you would like to change about yourself, perhaps a feeling towards yourself, someone else or something? Or maybe it’s a habit that has formed and you find difficult to shake off? Can you name it?
What would you like to accomplish this year, more than anything else, a goal that will change and improve your life and perhaps the world around you? What comes to mind?
In our art therapy courses, I teach a technique to help clients achieve their personal goals. It’s not merely a mental technique, such as brainstorming, but it aims to affect the emotions—it aims at a deeper level. I am talking about heartfelt goals.
Meaningful heartfelt goals can be more easily achieved through working with the unconscious, as it knows you best, your weaknesses and strengths.
When a client projects their personal goals into their images, like ‘finding love’, the image may reveal the personal obstacles in the way—something that is holding them back. In this process, the unconscious obstacle becomes conscious. This enables the clients to tackle their obstacles and consciously let go of them.
In the process, a little piece of magic can happen: the image may also reveal a personal, unknown strength that can overcome this obstacle.
We all have unique skills and strengths that relate directly to our obstacles and weaknesses, kind of the counterpart. Those strengths, like the obstacles, are mainly unconscious and we are often unaware of the relationship between them. Through art therapy, we can learn about it and learn to focus on the unique strengths we have and less on the obstacles. As the Hawaiian saying goes, “where attention goes, energy flows and where energy flows, life grows”.
I hope that your strengths will grow over the coming year and you’ll find a way to overcome what is in your way, achieving your heartfelt goals.
If you struggle to uncover them, you might consider seeing an art therapist. Check out our Art Therapy Directory for an art therapist … or become an art therapist yourself!
May all your wildest dreams manifest this year!
Robert GrayDirector and Senior Lecturer at CECAT
Registered Art Therapist and Psychologist
MA A. Th., AThR; B. Soc. Sc. (Psych.) (Hons.), MAPS.; BA. Theol. (Hons), MA Theol.
A highly regarded art therapy lecturer from Germany, Robert Gray has become a much sought-after art therapy lecturer and practising art therapist in Australia. His unique approach spanning psychodynamic, humanistic, spiritual and cognitive behavioural frameworks has distinguished him as a thought leader who is frequently invited to present at conferences in Australia and abroad.
Trained overseas and multilingual, German-born Robert shares the benefits of his international affiliations and access to cutting-edge research published in various languages with his students and readers. Robert is a professional member of the Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS).