Painting Perfection - Art Therapy and OCPD
Last night I did art therapy for the first time. As someone who does visual art for a living and for fun, I felt a little bit of pressure. Is there a "right " way to produce therapy art? Did it have to be perfect, salable, up to my standards?
I was worried the therapist would think : "She's a artist? Really?" The pressure threatened to take away any therapeutic power the art might have.
So I spoke on it.
I told the therapist that I was worried I was going all perfectionist on the project. She said to just "play" and that I would be limited in time and materials. I have to use string and ink, something I had never done. And I couldn't spend hours perfecting and redoing everything. I have to be raw, as imperfect as that is.
And you know what? It felt good. No one judging my art, not even myself. The result was acutally amazing. Maybe not the prettiest work. I don't think I could sell at Art Basel. But it felt real. And it gave me a sign post to a place in my psyche that I could never see if I stay caught up in judgments.
You don't need a therapist to do art therapy. Take a pen, a brush, some markerts and get messy. The key is to let go of expectations. Play. Time yourself, dont take too long. Then, sit back. Flip the page around.
Then ask -
What does it feel like to you?
What do you like and dislike about it?
Does it remind you of part of your life?
Is this a representation part of yourself? What part?
We can all benefit from letting the inner artist loose, free from the expecation to produce perfection.