Have you seen the adult colouring books and wondered why they have suddenly “taken off” and become so popular? Well, the answer lies in more widespread awareness of the need to reduce stress in our everyday lives and the books create a simple means for reducing that stress through art.
Stress can have harmful effects on everyone: personally, socially and physically. Colouring in for adults can be effective in reducing stress and bring a sense of calm to a person. The popularity of adult colouring books reflects that people are recognising the importance of reducing stress in their lives. In a world that is ever increasingly busy, colouring in creates a time of stillness that is like a breath of fresh air in a busy day. So, next time you are feeling stressed out and on edge, give yourself twenty minutes to sit down, calm down and colour in!
The process of being creative and making art is frequently used here at KYDS too – we do all sorts of things with our clients: colouring, painting, collage, sewing, origami, all creative activities that help individual clients in specific situations.
During a therapy session, counsellor and client may do creative work together, or in parallel. Sometimes we give clients colouring sheets to take home.
Art therapy is useful in many ways:
- It can help to build rapport and trust in the therapeutic alliance. The therapeutic alliance is the relationship that is built between counsellor and client in the therapy space. It must be one of trust and non-judgement for the therapy to be able to move forward and be supportive and effective for the client.
- A joint art process can be like a deep conversation. In family therapy, art work can help bring a family together and improve communication.
- Art can be a way of expressing emotions that is less damaging than yelling, creaming or hurting yourself. A red marker scribbled with energy all over a piece of paper or on your arms can expel some anger and stop it eating you up inside. ? Art can be a way to get in touch with your feelings when the right words just aren’t available.
Drawing pictures of the ‘monsters’ inside, or creating a safe place in picture form, can draw out ideas of what it is to feel safe and then be safe.
- Art can be a way of creating some distance between the emotional intensity and yourself. To see the pain expressed out on the page can hep create a way of talking about it as though it is external to the self and then seeing other ways around it can be easier.
- Art can be a mindful practice, a way of being in the now and not being overwhelmed by memory or anxiety.
- Art work can be a way to relax. A quiet moment when you are in control can create and invite calm into the room.
When next you see a book of beautiful designs and art pencils packaged together at the art supermarket check-out, consider the option of colouring as a means of creating stillness for yourself or someone you know, or being a chance to spend quiet time alongside a young person in your life.