Meet Registered Art Therapist Eden Flora, BFA, MPS, ART who leads an art therapy group at the American Addiction Center’s Oxford Treatment Center inpatient facility in Mississippi. She became interested in art therapy because she always found art healing personally and wanted to help other people feel the same. Flora says she has three goals for every group she teaches:
- Facilitate therapeutic art making
- Exercise self-awareness skills
- Develop introspection
What does each session look like? An art therapy group isn’t just about completing an art project. As Flora explains to her group, “our goal is not to make something beautiful but to connect with ourselves.” Flora begins her group with a mindfulness exercise to get participants into the right mood.
Each project is specifically chosen to meet the needs of the population of the group. Participants use a variety of materials and mediums—paint, collage, colored pencils, and sometimes clay. Choosing the material for projects is also important. For example, if participants tend to be impulsive, Flora may choose colored pencils instead of markers because colored pencils require people to slow down and consider the process more.
For a recent project, participants created greeting cards to represent a non-material gift they would like to give themselves. Participants were also encouraged to write a note on the inside to themselves about the gift and why they deserved it.
The group ends with the opportunity for participants to share what they created and why.