In the past 3 years I have facilitated over 90 group art therapy sessions. I went into my calendar and counted and wow, wow, wow!
And I have personally participated in many, many art therapy groups.
So why do group art therapy?
These are the themes that stand out to me:
🗓️ When joining an art therapy group, you are intentionally dedicating time to focus on specific themes that are important to you. I know that I need to put things in my calendar if I want to actually do them. A weekly group format provides accountability to show up for yourself.
🕯️ Groups follow specific formats that are outlines in advance for participants. Although specific topics or art prompts might change week-to-week, you know the general format to expect. As an anxious person, I always want to know ahead of time what we will be doing. Rituals create a sense of comfortability and ease while attending group.
All art is valid.
🖼️ There is no wrong way to create art in art therapy groups. Participants are given prompts/suggestions and they can choose how they would like to respond: responses can look like scribbles, clay sculpture, a written poem, a dance or cut out images, for example. One time, I just played with play-doh all group because that was what I needed on that day.
💵 Group art therapy is a fraction of the price of individual therapy and have incredible therapeutic value. Although you don't go as deep into personal experiences as you would in individual therapy, I have learned a lot about myself from attending groups. The investment has always been worth it.
👯♀️ One of the most prominent mental health concerns is feeling like you are all alone in your experiences. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness, shame and self-criticism. In group art therapy, you are offered glimpses into others' lives. You can find new meanings and interpretations that you may have never considered. Working alongside others, you know you are not alone.
Synergy and synchronicity.
🌟 Group art therapy sessions often feel alive and electric. The synergy of intentionally creating together adds excitement to the experience. I have witness synchronicity show up multiple times in group environments. Participants create art with similar images and themes, without ever voicing those ideas aloud. There is a feeling of reverence and awe during group sharing when noticing these moments of synchronicity.
I am always incredibly grateful to embrace these themes in my studio. Have you ever participated in group art therapy? What stands out to you?