Art Therapy: How I Painted My Life Again

Tips of an art therapist: why each of us needs to have canvas and paints in the house.

To part with what has long sought, is not easy. But what if the dream calls to go on? Art therapist Ekaterina Gudyno, who once exchanged a prestigious and monetary position in a law firm for the cause of her dreams, explains with a personal example how art can change life.

Catherine Gudyno (art therapist)

Who did you dream to be in childhood? I, for example, absolutely do not remember. These all astronauts, ballerinas, actresses and ice cream vendors walked past me with a confident step. The entire Internet is literally teeming with the stories of Russian and foreign stars, whose talent allegedly since childhood was clearly visible to everyone. Even as a child, Elena Krygina stole a cosmetics bag from her mother and painted everything and everyone, including wallpaper. Beyonce sang and danced from elementary school. Maria Skladovskaya-Curie took up science, being very young. Salvador Dali had a passion for the visual arts.Michelangelo began to draw from life in 13 years. It is clear that some of the stories are nothing more than a beautiful legend. But some amazing statistics confirms: what the little man lived and was interested in from the very beginning, over time, it becomes quite successful business of his life.

I had no such dream. Or was, but somewhere deep inside. So I had to look for myself in a more conscious age. So, 6 years ago, late in the evening, I found myself in a beautiful office with snow-white walls nastukuyuschego regular legal document. There was a feeling that this would never end. Every day I will wake up early in the morning, although I’m not at all a lark, I don’t have time to have breakfast and rush to work, and in the evening of gray-green to return home, stumble on a bed and fall until tomorrow ...

Two red diplomas of MGIMO lawyer-lawyer (bachelor and master) looked at me out of the box with reproach - did you really want this snow-white office, with the persistence of a woodpecker, to enter the free department? In the first year I did not have one point. In the second, having prepared myself, I entered as many as three faculties for free.Familiar and friends still do not believe in it. And I say: the main thing is to set a goal.

Photo: author's personal archive

A little later, reluctantly, I still filed an application and packed my things into IKEA box. To part with what she had longed for was not easy. But what if the dream called to go on?

After 2 months, I already studied at the best (opinion of the author) Moscow school of makeup artists Mosmake, managed to work in the flagship boutique MACCosmetics and make up the organizers of one of the main shows of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. It was a short period of rebellion against all rules and attitudes. In my life “before” there was clearly not enough color, and I did it with all my strength, painting myself and the whole world around. Very soon, "their" clients appeared. They said that I have a good aura. Some of them are still calling, and we go to drink tea.

A little later, I began to develop communication skills, learned to be a specialist in public relations, for a year I grew from assistant to senior manager and traveled to Bali with a group of journalists, went to private parties, worked with stars and had all the other attributes of life and work in PR is the best (arguing useless) hotels in the world.

It may seem that I was jumping from place to place with nothing to do.So, at least, my relatives told me. But each of my choices was well thought out and realized, and also, importantly, supported by her husband, for which he received an incredible human thanks.

Now I am an art therapist, a psychologist, a coach “for life”, a member of the professional public association of the ROO “Art Therapy Association”, the founder of the studio for personal growth and creative development InColorMe. I help people catch the inner balance (as if imagining that you are walking a tightrope with a long stick), listen very carefully to yourself, achieve your (not someone else's, this is important) goals and realize your dreams. After all, I know firsthand how important it can be.

Gathering for another consultation with a client with a pack of watercolor paper and tassels in a bag, I can hardly remember my true feelings of “me office” then. Perhaps they were not. There was something like "come on, girl, work, and you will be happy."

I sincerely believe that creativity can heal, that drawing with watercolors, a dance, a song or a gnome molded from polymer clay can tell the creator more than he ever tells himself.And also, that, being engaged in creativity and actively traveling, you can answer many of your questions and achieve harmony.

Photo: author's personal archive

My clients are from various parts of the world. I collect original programs in Russia and abroad. And, it seems, I have never been happier.

Turning back, I only now understand that everything was done correctly. Connect the dots, so to speak. All my works were somehow connected with psychology: without knowing the subtleties of the human soul, you cannot win the court, you will not find an approach to a client, you will not know his needs. And simply nothing at all not agree.

A bit of practice

There is one cool exercise. It is called "Life Line." On a piece of paper (preferably A4) draw a horizontal line on which to the left indicate your current age, and to the right, as it were, psychologically comfortable for summarizing. Well, let's say 100. Divide the resulting segment into several equal lengths. For example, 25–35, 35–45, 45–55, 55–70, 70–80, 80–90, 90–100. Now it's up to the main thing. Write down what you will do in all these intervals of life. Ok, 25−35 to paint easy.And what will you do, for example, from 70 to 80? Most recently, in front of my eyes, a person first put the right line at 85, and then, having detailed his plan in detail before that time, he became enthusiastic and added the same amount. “Too early,” he says. Try it, it works!

When people ask me what art therapy is, it’s as if a light bulb comes on inside me. This is exactly the topic that I can talk about for hours. For example, the fact that the coloring-anti-stress, hanging on us from all counters, have nothing to do with this method.

Here, perhaps, is a good example. One day a girl came to me. She sat with her legs and arms crossed, saying that she doesn’t like psychologists much, she doesn’t like to draw, and on the whole she is fine. I signed up to find out what kind of method is so new. She left meanwhile in thought - with the help of a drawing made in a circle, she suddenly found the answer to a question that had long tormented her. I just smiled. At such moments I feel that I am doing something incredibly useful.

And from the useful

Here is another technique that I highly recommend trying to everyone. It is called "The vessel filled with meaning." Close your eyes for a while and imagine yourself as a vessel. Do not think for a long time - the first image that occurs in the imagination is often the most correct one.Which vessel is you? Tall or short, brand new, shiny or, conversely, antique? Submit to the smallest detail. After the picture is folded, open your eyes and draw the silhouette of you-vessel. And now fill it on the sly with all that is especially precious and pleasant for you. Carefully review the resources you have. What will you take, and what will you leave? This technique works great with human values. From time to time it is worth shaking your vessel and see if everything is there, what you need?

Of course, without the participation of the art therapist to perform such tasks is quite difficult. Internal barriers are too strong in us - logic, not spontaneity, triumphs. Do you know why psychologists cannot work with relatives and friends? The degree of subjectivity when working with those to whom the attitude is particularly reverent, increases beyond the limits. What can we say about myself ...

Photo: author's personal archive

Myths and truth about art therapy:

  1. Going to a psychologist is not a diagnosis. It is, on the contrary, a completely healthy choice of a person to take care of himself and his progress. It is much more useful to understand oneself under the attentive supervision of a specialist, rather than to find oneself in complete ruin one day.
  2. Despite its name, art therapy has nothing to do with art as such.In the classroom there is no purpose to create masterpieces for exhibitions and auctions at Sotheby’s. Nevertheless, quite often the clients have works that are no worse than great artists. Do you know why? Because it paints the richest inner world. And the richest, without exaggeration, he is in each of us. There are no skills needed, everything is already by nature.
  3. In art therapy there is no place for interpretations. Much more important is the fact that the client feels and feels in relation to his result of creativity. What meanings he puts there himself. You will never hear from me, for example, that a dirty-gray-brown-crimson drawing of a child is evidence of his inner conflict or fear. Do you know what is best to do in this case? Ask if they taught him to wash the brushes after each paint.
  4. There is no right or wrong. Sometimes this is almost the most important experience that a client takes with him as a result of our occupation. Most of us (I will not say that all) are accustomed to look at things through the prism of two glasses: black and white. No gaps. This is manifested in creativity: I am sometimes asked if the picture is properly glued to the collage.
  5. And one more.I do not allow to destroy the results of creativity. You can not just take and throw in the trash their feelings. It is much more effective to look more closely at the resulting image. Maybe from some side he will become more likeable? You can always add a couple of elements, override the color scheme or make a new meaning. One time from a dark spot on a sheet of one of the participants came out a beautiful blanket for a kind grandmother in a rocking chair. So as not to freeze.

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