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Why men are good candidates for art therapy
With so many pressures to conform, compete, and perform– men psychologically crave healthy spaces and places to experiment with role diversity. Today men’s roles are changing and evolving. Roles for men are expanding moving from being rigid and stagnant —as hunters and gatherers —to being fluid, emotional, and social–reflective and thoughtful. For many men, this transition is not an easy one. These role changes can stretch the boundaries of the psyche and push beyond a man’s regular limits. For some men, this means holding on to long established, traditional, one dimensional, self-limiting roles. For others this means a drive to stay in dysfunctional relationships where men fall into painful patterns of behavior and thinking– conforming to social norms. For many men, different and diverse roles lead to a stressful and difficult developmental experience.
With so few healthy role models to follow, many men struggle to find a functional identity which can stretch and be more functional and fluid with changing role expectations. Art therapy provides tools to help men step out of those outdated limiting roles and beliefs toward a path of greater health. Art therapy can provide a way out of this scramble helping to decipher and reduce the complexity of these demanding male orientated situations. Art therapy gives men tools and strategies to implement healthier alternatives without threatening their masculinity and pride. Art therapy can provide assessments, interventions, treatment plans, and stimulation for growth and transformative development.
Let’s face it, men are changing– socially, emotionally, and mentally. No longer confined to narrow brutish roles men’s roles– along with their needs and desires –have expanded. Men don’t have to sit in social settings strapped in to what they are expected to be. Men, freer now to explore deeper levels of themselves, can take off their masks. These changing times present new rules and venues for self-expression, and exploration. Men are now more invested in seeking psychological comfort. Still cultural norms do not endorse full male engagement or support full creative expression. Men are taught to ignore, suppress, and deny many facets of healthy male character traits. This often reduces modern man to a lump of anger and competition, inadvertently denouncing male access to a healthy multifaceted personality. This socially constructed shell is often more explosive, more violent, more moralistic and judgmental than would be expected from a more authentic person who is capable of showing his vulnerabilities and sensitivities.
Art therapy uses multiple sources for self expression, self discovery, and self organization. Art therapy is a safe place for men to try out new roles and experiment with different perspectives, and gender expressions. In art therapy men can create art for their healing. In art therapy, men are invited to express feelings, express dreams, and expand his understanding of being human. In this way, men are able to utilize art therapy as a resource to live in a manner that is more fully connected with himself and with others in community. Many experts believe this leads to greater health and well-being. Art therapy can help men construct comfortable, interesting, and thought provoking avenues for self expression. Through exploring different roles and levels of comfort in a private environment he can reflect on many aspects of his life and see which roles are most supportive of who he wants to be as a modern man —artistically, socially, and emotionally. In art therapy, men are encouraged to be reflective of their life experiences: Men are encouraged to construct a Life Story more in keeping with their multidimensional character. Art therapy provides a conduit for the expression of personal masculine energy and is a way for men to act and to construct creative works of art for pleasure, for enjoyment, for therapeutic release and for focused treatment goals.
What can I expect in a session?
Art therapy Art therapy for men can be a direct way to heal the split: mind from body and heart from head which has been going on for the last five thousand years. There is an unseen relationship between self-expression and health. When men engage in self-expression freely, they become closer to their personal and collective power which can be developed for positive consequences. is an agent for change and healing. Men can expect to bring their life experiences and their life stories. Men can expect to engage with a professional in a confidential setting to explore deep issues of suffering, sadness and pain—often buried for years. During the first initial interview the individual can express and present his concerns. If necessary he can bring his partner with him and together we can work out difficulties and get through barriers that may be preventing him from living a full and conscious life free of unnecessary sadness and doubt. Living freely as a male with a fully engaged liberated masculine psyche and spirit cannot be bought however it is something that can be worked toward. The first art therapy session is a place to talk about what is bothering you and to put together a plan of action to make significant changes so he can lead a more fully engaged life. Goals are usually set in the first two sessions. Together he and the art therapist will design a plan to be implemented over the course of treatment.
How does art therapy work?
Art therapy provides a safe, confidential, engaging place to express his creative energy for problem solving, conflict resolution, communication and for increased health and well-being. For men, creativity is usually an untapped yet wonderful resource. For men, the creative process is often an unharnessed, underutilized power overlooked when attempting to resolve personal issues and while developing additional resources for a fuller, more vibrant meaningful living experience. Artistic expression can make a man happy; make him resourceful and point him toward a more personally sound Life Story. Art therapy is a kind of go between different worlds. Art therapy is an agent for change. Art therapy can change the way a man thinks through interaction with his self expression, a variety of media and his interior space. Art therapy encourages new ways of looking at the world, helping men be open to new possibilities. Art therapy can help men become more acquainted with their inner most experiences which can release and construct more inner spaces for development and growth.
Art therapy utilizes traditional talk therapy and various types of non-verbal artistic expression to encourage increasingly broader human values. In art therapy sessions individuals are encouraged to experiment with a variety of materials like acrylic paints, oil paints, watercolors, clay, oil pastels, collage’, paper and pencils. Many kinds of expressions, interventions and methods may be used during the art therapy session. There may be a single type of process or any combination of processes such as sculpting, painting, photo-therapy, printmaking, journal writing, collage’ or personal ritual.
What is the next step?
Learn More about Art Therapy
Contact Us or call 225-344-1572
If you are ready to make changes in your life, request an appointment now.
Art Therapy Initial Session for Men
1.5 - 4 hours
Art Therapy Follow up Session for Men
Art Therapy Family Session for Men