Shedding Light on the Mysteries of Art Therapy
by Emma Stone - Madeira Intern
Hi!! If you’re reading this right now, I’m so glad you’re here, because art therapy is an amazing form of therapy that is worth looking into. Coming from someone who has personally seen immense gain in her life because of it, I am happy that you have come to this page and are exploring more about art therapy and it’s amazing benefits.
I asked some people close to me their frequently asked questions or doubts about art therapy, things that would maybe steer them away from giving it a good try.
When asking this, differences between the adults’ concerns vs. the teenagers were clear. The adults had more concrete questions where I could see where their doubt stems from, yet knew that with more information they would be singing a different tune. For the younger, I got an overwhelming amount of one singular response:
“What is art therapy?”
This, I think, is where the problem lies. People simply do not know enough about art therapy to give it a true chance. So, if you’re reading this and have that question as well, this is my answer:
Art therapy is a creative and interesting way of expressing feelings that can be immensely beneficial to the client. Instead of talking and then being told what to do, Water & Stone’s art therapy approach is humanistic in that the therapist and client are truly working together to decipher and express feelings on your journey towards healing and gaining insight.
As far as the adults go, their questions were a little more thorough.
“Will I be judged doing art? Not only for the things expressed in the artwork, but for the art itself?”
Water & Stone therapist Xenia Rybak addressed this as she explained to me that in art therapy, kids are very much about the process: throwing glitter onto a page and trying every color crayon. She has found that adults, however, are more about the results. She explains that adults think that there is a specific set of rules that they must follow, and that their art must be impressive. When, in reality, the therapist is solely there looking to help you shed light on areas in your life that need it. If they wanted to judge your art, they would become an art critic am I right?
On a slightly different wavelength,
“Does art therapy truly work? How can it be effectively applied to multiple issues people are facing?”
It works because it is a collaborative process between a trained professional and yourself. The professional will help the client use materials that allow them to express things in unique ways that can be freeing. The therapist can guide each person in a way that works for them; it is a tailored approach to each individual person to support their journey. Because it is so different than what we do in day to day life, it allows us to discover things that maybe we normally wouldn’t see. The best bit of advice that I have is to go into it open mindedly and see how it might help you!
Thank you so much for reading this and joining me in learning more about art therapy! I hope that this inspires you to give it a try. I have always loved art, but only in recent years have I seen first-hand how it contributes to every individual’s personal healing.
by Emma Stone - Madeira intern
Connections are everything. They create something real, whatever that may be: happiness, growth, success, fulfillment. In a world full of people and things, what can be more beautiful than that!
When talking with Water & Stone therapist Xenia Rybak, we both agreed on this and found it to be true. Connections are fundamental things that run through everything. Specific to what we were talking about, her profession, everyone is more connected than we think. Seeing many people in a journey towards healing, Xenia’s profession has taught her this. She says that if we all knew that, if we all were aware of the connections we maybe cannot see, then it would be easier. Yes, there would still be issues. Sadness, anxiety, confusion, but the difference would be knowing that, however cliché it may seem, you are not alone.
I believe that it is valuable to always be looking for and creating connections, including the ones that we cannot clearly see. In my room, I have a box of letters that I keep under my bed. I have a small black Nikon camera on my bookshelf with videos and pictures of people I have known and places I have been. When I look at these things, I feel completely full. This feeling is euphoric, it is the feeling of being connected. I believe that everyone should search for any opportunity to make a meaningful connection. Waving to someone on the street, reaching out to someone just for the fun of it, exploring all of your curiosity and seizing every opportunity. Because when you feel connected, you feel completely full.
The Power of Your Inner Voice
by Lily Simmons (Madeira Intern)
I believe that you speak things into existence, whether this be to other people or to yourself.
I was never excited for art class in elementary school or middle school. I would compare my drawings or paintings to whoever was nearby, feeling like mine were inadequate. Because of this, I would go into any art project with the mindset that it would not turn out well. My inner voice would repeat, “art isn’t my thing” or “I am not good enough to make something like that,” when eyeing another person’s work. I would rarely be satisfied with my finished product.
This mindset shifted in Spring of 2020. I was with my best friend Emma and we decided to paint on a couple of mini canvases that we found. As I began, I pushed away any negative thoughts and questioned myself less. I focused on enjoying the process with each brush stroke, wishing I had embraced art this way in elementary school. The final product was a dark night sky with stars and a pier leading to the moon. I ended up loving the painting, not worried about anything other than my own work. This was the first stepping stone to my love for painting. The miniature night sky now sits next to my mom’s desk!
When I let go of telling myself that I couldn't be an artist, I became one. You have the power to shift your inner voice to say whatever you want it to say.
The world has been flipped on its head and we are constantly having to recalibrate, so why not start a blog?
Honestly, it wasn't in my plans and I, like many, have been living day to day, finding moments of calm amid the days of chaos or exhaustion. What finally tipped the scales for this to become a reality was a simple sentence about how this could help others. I know, I'm a therapist and this is a normal thing to do in my day to day life. However, helping others from a place of sharing my own thoughts, life adventures, and ways of balancing sparked an energy I haven't felt in a while.
With this blog, I am going to make space for the quirky thoughts, exciting happenings, and curious questioning that I don't usually get to share with people. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and hopefully sparking something in you that creates a surprising ripple in your life and brings something new into being.
Here we go!
Emery started Water & Stone in 2015 to bring a more contemplative approach to health and wellness in NYC. She is inspired to combine her love of meditation, creative arts, and psychology to support others in bravely healing or daring to reach for dreams with the goal of living a fully engaged and fulfilling life. Since starting her company, she has gathered a diverse group of women with similar dreams to support people locally, nationally and internationally.