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Art as Medicine: Creativity to Heal our Inner Child, and Access our Innate and Unique Soul Expression.

Sunday, February 6th 2022 10:00am 8 min read
Dr. Jessica Renfer drjessica.nd

Licensed naturopathic doctor with expertise in lifestyle transformation, healing from chronic disease and natural fertility & preconception.

A beautiful tool to support our healing and transformation process is found through honoring the creative process. If you ask most artists and musicians, they will often describe how their art is their therapy. It is a way to take our experiences, both blessed and painful, and channel them into something beautiful. Art and Creativity is a wonderful way to access the feminine within each of us, that creative force that is so often stifled in our society. When working through difficult emotions, such as anger, dancing and drumming can be so powerful to move the energy rather than letting it burn us up from within. Music can be a way to express our grief, painting and drawing is a wonderful way to access our Inner Child. We can work with our shadow, archetypes, traumas and gifts, in a creative and fun way, which for many is a safer and more loving way to begin the process of deeper self knowing, and ultimately healing.

Art and Music Therapy are now well integrated into various treatment facilities and care centers, the value being recognized to support healing, particularly in the mental/emotional realms. The American Art Therapy Association has conducted case studies, and has been able to show that art therapy is useful for broad patient groups. One such study was looking at the therapeutic benefit in a group of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury, which often can have long term exacerbations of depression and anxiety. The patients each participated in 5 one hour sessions, working with various creative processes such as making collages and sculpture. At the completion of the study, 4 of the 6 had a decrease in depression, 3 of the 6, a decrease of anxiety and 5 of 6 had a decrease in stress. This paper also references benefits for patients with schizophrenia, for children and adolescents who experienced trauma, and acute stress disorder. Music therapy also has well documented benefits, within a wide variety of patient groups, such as children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Schizophrenia.

Music and Art are also an integral part of healing in many shamanic traditions. In Ayahuasca and other Entheogenic Plant ceremonies, the Icaros, or sacred music, is what directs the healing energy of the plants for specific purposes. The shamans describe that each plant has its own song, and that medicine men and women are gifted the songs from nature and spirit to support healing. The music can wind itself within your consciousness, and much like a spiritual/energetic surgery, result in purging of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual disharmony. Moving to different traditions, such as the practices of chanting sacred sounds and mantras in Yogic rituals. Consider also African dance and drumming rituals, Indigneous Australians with the potent didgeridoo, Mongolian and Tibetan Throat Singing, the list expands to include all indigenous traditions, and in fact into modern religious sects as well. Sound Healing is quite common in spiritual communities nowadays, and most of us have experienced some expression of this, whether that be through Crystal Singing Bowls, Gong Sound Baths, Bells and Chimes, Binaural Beats, etc. Most of us also understand that music and the arts, even when not created for the specific purpose of healing, or as a means to access to the divine, is emotionally healing, can be invigorating or relaxing, and often at the top of what we enjoy in life.

During the Water Fasting Retreats in Hawaii, I brought a Shamanic Art and Music Therapist to do a healing session with the patients, and often they would say it was surprisingly one of their most therapeutic experiences during their stay. Particularly for those who don’t consider themselves artists, or those who felt uncomfortable or unskilled in these areas. I will share the flow, and what I learned through participating and witnessing others’ healing experiences, so that perhaps those of you reading this article can create a similar ritual for yourself. The path and purpose was/is to bring people into a relaxed and centered place, moving out of the conscious mind and instead accessing the higher self, or hidden places within the shadows or subconscious mind. Through a series of activities, participants become connected to the intuitive self, such that when they sit down to paint, it is an expression of their soul, or what their soul wished to create or speak at that time.

Creating an creative healing experience

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