Counseling Corner | Katie Cooley, M.A., LMHC Talks About Art Therapy

This video segment is from Restoring Hope, a TV series hosted on WHMB40 and serving the Indianapolis area. Crosswinds Counseling offers counseling services throughout Indiana.

Katie Cooley, M.A., LMHC

Hi, I’m Katie Cooley. I’m a therapist at Crosswinds Counseling and I’m here to talk about art therapy. Art therapy is so exciting because it’s a way and modality to have clients navigate their emotions and feelings in a nonverbal way. So traditionally, as we talk about emotions [that] can be powerful. Except, that art therapy is a tool that can create ways to experience emotions on a nonverbal level, which we already do.

So understanding those emotions through metaphor and symbol can be really helpful and really powerful, especially for a lot of different populations and a lot of different symptoms.

So our example today is art therapy as it helps anxiety and I have a little example of a client that created art based on having lots of anxious feelings and the directive in this was just to, ‘create shapes and lines with colors that spoke to your emotion and create a piece on how that feels.’ And so this client obviously has a lot of organized chaos and we talked about what these symbols and metaphors as far as the colors and the shapes. Some of it was about borders and how the anxiety in their mind was chaotic but organized and [this] helped them gain insight and autonomy over those irrational thoughts. We were able to eventually work together to create more pieces as a way of gaining autonomy over those thoughts. So another thing is art therapy can help record and [show] visually progress so that we can go back and look at where we’ve come since we started in therapy.

So that’s just a quick snapshot of art therapy. There’s a lot more but I hope this inspires you to think about ways to incorporate art into your sessions to help people process their feelings.

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