Together at the Poles

Michelle Kelly: “Art as a Means of Therapy” and New Gallery


Michelle Kelly has published her artwork before on Bipolar Village. Today, she has provided both a reflection on her own experience with art therapy, and a new gallery of art. She is a freelance illustrator based in Leigh-on-sea, Essex, England, and you can find more of her work on her website. We are pleased to have her back.

Having always been a Creative Person, it seemed natural that when times were tough, I would draw to express my feelings and emotions. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder that I learnt how truly life saving my ability to create would be, as well as the potential it had to make me feel better about myself, something that is vital in times of need.

I’m currently running my own illustration business from home. I often find that as soon as I have finished an illustration, I feel better. I love seeing the finished result and thinking to myself ‘I created that!’ It’s an Artistic buzz that only Artistic folk and possibly parents must feel!

Tears

“Tears”, Copyright © 2013 Michelle Kelly

Before going on medication for Bipolar Disorder, I was very apprehensive. I was fearful that my creativity would be taken away and I would lose a part of me! I used to find that whilst Manic I would attempt my Artwork, Rush through it, and not be pleased with the final result, and, when depressed, not do any Art at all (Being Bipolar II this was often the case most of the time!). But once I found the medication that suited me, I actually found I was still very creative and, even better, consistently creative! So, I was able to set myself up as a Freelance Illustrator and not have the concern of letting my clients down!

As a part time job, I help an Artist who suffered a Stroke some years back. The stroke left him paralysed down one side of his body. I have been going and helping him get back into his Artwork, This has been extremely helpful, not just for the man I am helping, but also for me! As I sit and paint alongside him, its gives me a break from my Digital work, and allows me to be a traditional Artist as well as an Illustrator.

According to The British Association of Art Therapists, Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Clients who are referred to an art therapist need not have previous experience or skill in art; the art therapist is not primarily concerned with making an aesthetic or diagnostic assessment of the client’s image. The overall aim of its practitioners is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment.
-by Michelle Kelly

Art Therapy doesnt have to be with a qualified Art Therapist. All you need is a canvas, some paints (acrylics are easiest if it’s your first time painting), some brushes, and your own imagination!!

I strongly recommend Art as a means of therapy, It doesn’t matter if you think you can’t draw, Go Abstract!! and depict your moods/feelings/emotion through art! Once you have finished and you know the piece of work has meaning, I’m sure you will feel a little better!

About Art Therapy:

According to The British Association of Art Therapists, Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. Clients who are referred to an art therapist need not have previous experience or skill in art. The art therapist is not primarily concerned with making an aesthetic or diagnostic assessment of the client’s image. The overall aim of its practitioners is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment.

Michelle’s New Gallery

2 Responses to Michelle Kelly: “Art as a Means of Therapy” and New Gallery

  • The right mix of meds is the tricky part. Wonderful that you have achieved that. Still working on it myself. Until then, I can only paint while days of mania are taking place. If the outcome is not what I originally thought, I am at least calmed for a time. Thank you for this article. It gave me a sense of purpose as well as making me feel less alone. God Bless you.

  • Thank you for enlightening me about the benefits of art therapy. When you can see the results of your work coming to life you must feel renewed. So energizing. Happy that you feel even more creative now that you have found the right meds. Your work speaks to me of pain and anguish and of being somehow unable to break through some kind of barrier. I hope that when you paint about such deep feelings that it also frees you up to enjoy life. Love your work.

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Psychotherapy from Daniel

Daniel Bader, Ph.D., RP (Qualifying), CCC

Daniel Bader, Ph.D., is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and Canadian Certified Counsellor specializing in bipolar disorder, offering in-person psychotherapy in Kitchener, Ontario, and online and telephone psychotherapy within Canada.

To book an appointment with Daniel, please visit his Psychology Today profile.