by Samantha Morris
Integrative Art Psychotherapist

What story have you grown up with? What story are you now living? Whatever your life experiences, your response is likely to have been shaped by the context in which you grew up.

We all learn to physically and emotionally survive by learning to feel, to think and to behave in certain ways. Most likely you will have picked this up from parents, ancestral genetics, schooling, peer groups, society, the media and your individual cultural context.

Whilst it’s true that these experiences have either shaped who you are, or have even supported you in different ways, it may seem that what once worked, may no longer be working.

You may begin to feel upset or angry with life or in relationships. Perhaps you feel confused or ashamed of your own feelings and identity and so feel the need to bottle things up, to live a lie, or to hide away. Or maybe you may feel judged, insecure, unaccepted or unlovable.

It’s sometimes very difficult or even impossible to see a way out of these times and perhaps you have become used to bottling up your needs, cutting off your feelings or even throwing yourself into work, stress and burn-out in order to deflect from what’s really happening or to survive.

At these times, it’s natural to run into your own survival flight, fight or freeze mode. Yet, in turn, no matter how well you think you are managing these situations, it may feel that you have no outlet as they keep resurfacing, overflowing and haunting you in different ways.

Explore, Express and Release Yourself

In order to sit with and to release yourself from fixed patterns of behaviours, feelings or experiences, it’s really important that you are open to listening to, expressing and exploring your needs- whether this is through talking, creativity or both.

When I talk about combining talking therapies with creativity to people they immediately think ‘I’m not artistic or creative’. However, what’s important to remember is that you don’t need to be a Botticelli or Andy Warhol to live or even to experience more flow, creativity and possibilities in your life.

To experience more creativity and flow means different things to each individual. Yet the process of creativity within therapy or in life is not about how artistic you are. However, it’s about asking yourself “How can I begin to experience flow, release, creativity and the art of viewing or creating possibilities work for me in my own life and situations?”

It is possible to explore, to heal, to express and to release yourself from situations, past and present experiences and as Ophrah Winfrey says “We all have the opportunities to be artists of our own lives”.