Being a Witness to The Magic
Last week we said goodbye to our wonderful Summer intern, Dawn Starkey. For the past few months Dawn has graced us with her warm smile, infectious laugh, and willingness to explore art as therapy. While there are many more wonderful attributes that Dawn possess, it is her beginner’s mind that I will miss most. I honestly believe that her time with BATC was successful because of her eagerness to learn and and her ability to be in the moment with the art. Often times, adults are hesitant to make art in front of others because they have judgement about their own art abilities but Dawn dived right in.
Which brings me to this, as an art therapist I often hear the question, “Will art therapy work for me?” This is often posed by adults who have wrongly conceived art as only beneficial for children. To those of you who are hesitant, who believe an active imagination is appropriate only during childhood, or to those who are simply curious, I say this, ” The magic happens when you let the art speak.” And in order for the art to speak, you must let it out. Even just a little. The wonderful thing about art as therapy, as Dawn knows, is the experiential component. You must engage. Your imagination has no expiration date. So I invite all of you to come be a witness first if you’re scared. I promise that if you leave your judgements at the door, the magic will happen and eventually the witness will become an active participant.
I leave you with a few words from Dawn:
“Coming in as an intern at the beginning of Summer 2015, my history with art was limited–I wasn’t fully prepared for the beautiful unloading of experiential learning that was about to occur. Boulder Art Therapy Collective is a truly magical place—qualified individuals serve and lead clients through a process of peaceful exploration and healing. Art Therapy has the capacity to gently reach the depths of one’s soul reminding one of the burdens needing attention and care, sometimes even closure.
Through the use of art therapy, I have recalled the joys of using art as a child; I’ve reminisced at the feelings that specific art mediums can illicit. The beauty of color and even the texture of a medium can create an end result the individual can process and appreciate.
I’ve discovered the power of art and its role in healing the individual. Through the group therapy sessions at BATC, I’ve seen heavy burdens that have been unloaded by our participants, tears shed, and individuals encouraged and embraced by another in the room. Intimate revelations have been shared within a supportive and encouraging environment.
I’ve been a witness to the magic of art therapy. I am so grateful to have been a part of the tribe at Boulder Art Therapy Collective. Not only was I welcomed with open arms, but I was gently taken alongside to witness, experience, and learn the power of art therapy. My learning experiences have prepared me to use art therapy to reach students in the role of as a future school counselor. BATC has made an impression on me, and I will carry with me the beauty of this experience, touching and impacting others with the magic of art therapy.”
-Dawn Starkey, Summer 2015 intern