Art Therapy Studio Chicago, Ltd.
Author: Jacqueline Carmody, LCPC, ATR
At the end of the summer, Art Therapy Studio Chicago was given the opportunity to interact with the attendees of North Coast Music Festival by encouraging them to engage in a collaborative group mural. The tent that ATSC offered was a safe space away from the chaos and confusion of the festival. This space provided individuals with the opportunity to come and express their current state of being without judgement. As an art therapist and facilitator of this mural, I was able to witness how the power of art making brought strangers together in a unique way. This space allowed participants to express themselves with the support of others and the ability to share a common ground.
There are many benefits to making art with others. Whether it is a collaborative mural, or simply just sharing a studio space. The experience of being in a group offers the opportunity to make a connection with others. Art therapy groups provide support and can ease feelings of isolation and social anxiety because the materials and images can do the communicating. You can be actively engaged in an art therapy group without the need to be verbal.
When choosing the right art therapy group for yourself, it is important to ask what you would like to gain from the experience. Do you want to use the group to gain insight from others? Do you want the opportunity to share your story? Each individual has their own needs. These needs can be met in a group setting if the individual is open and willing to trust the process.
Art therapy groups can be formatted to fit a specific emotional need, population, or life event. You can find a group that connects you with people of similar interests and goals as yourself. If the idea of being in a group is intimidating to you, there are many groups that are offered with less structure. These types of art therapy groups reflect the style of an open studio. The choice to process in a group setting is left to the participant. You own the right to control your amount of self-disclosure.
If you feel that group art therapy is an experience that will meet your needs. ATSC is currently offering weekly and monthly groups. We provide a safe, respectful, and comfortable environment. The time spent in the studio allows participants to let go of stress occurring in the outside world and be present with the time they are spending with themselves, others, and the artwork.
Dr. Mary Andrus DAT, ATR-BC, LCPC