Hi! I’m Anu. If this is your first time visiting The White Paper Creative blog, welcome! I’m so happy you’ve landed here. Whether we know each other well or we’re just connecting now, I consider it an honour to have you as a reader.
In this first month of the new year, I wanted to take a moment to share a little bit about who I am, why I write these posts, and my hopes for this space moving forward.
In terms of my professional qualifications, I am a qualified artist, art teacher and I also practice art as therapy. If you’re curious about what that means, Art therapy is a process-based therapy. Each art therapy session is an opportunity to discover our resourcefulness, which is our innate ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties. I believe that we ALL have this ability. But know that therapy doesn’t make our challenges disappear. Instead, it supports us to build competence and confidence, resulting in a deep understanding that we have what it takes to face challenges.
My approach to art therapy is inspired by my inner child. I still love doing the same things that I loved as a kid. These include playing outside, reading picture books, collecting stuff, taking nature walks, playing with paints, creating crafts out of found objects, and visiting the library. So, in addition to traditional art materials, I also LOVE incorporating nature objects, toys (especially plastic animals), puppets, children’s books, and recycled materials into my art lessons, which in turn, I have discovered is easy to turn into an art as therapy session.
I feel like I have the coolest job in the world. I love how I am constantly learning through professional development, but also through each encounter with my students. I love finding new ways to use art and play to share ideas and make connections. I love problem solving with families. I love being in a role where I can look out for tiny shifts or glimmers of resistance that eventually lead to big positive changes. I love witnessing those moments where a child, without even realizing it, does something that may have felt impossible at first.
I want the world to know about the resiliency, courage, determination, and resourcefulness that is uncovered through using art as therapy. However, due to many contributing factors, therapy is something that we are just starting to talk about. Stigma around therapy and mental health still very much exists. Writing a blog is one way I hope to change that.
Why do I write a blog?
I love sharing my art work and the therapeutic effects that art has shown me. Blog posts allow me to do that. I write these posts with three goals in mind:
1 – Demystify and De-stigmatize Art Therapy
I see this as one small way that I can help to de-stigmatize therapy and mental health. By sharing information about art therapy and how it works, I can take some mystery out of the process. I hope that this makes art therapy feel more approachable. I hope it helps to know what to expect, which may, in turn, make it feel a little less scary or overwhelming. I hope that my posts offer a taste of what it might be like to try art as therapy.
2 – Share Art Therapy Resources with a Wider Audience
Beyond that, I see the blog as an opportunity to share insights from my self-therapy with a wider audience. While blog posts and resources are absolutely NOT a replacement for therapy with a licensed mental health professional, I do think that some of the things I write about can be helpful for all to build a healthy communication and connection. I believe it will help us all to grow and create together as a community.
3 – Inspire You to Creatively Connect with Yourself and others
When I share ideas, activities, or suggestions, my hope is to encourage you that it’s not difficult or unattainable to use creativity to support your mental health, and to strengthen your relationships with yourself and others around you.
You can do it, wherever you are right now, with whatever you have on hand. That’s the power of your resourcefulness!
So, what can you expect from the blog moving forward?
I intend to continue sharing new blog posts regularly. Some posts will have more of a psycho-educational focus, while other posts will focus on an art activity to try at home. Moving on once this pandemic and restrictions ease up, I also hope to have a physical space where we can catch up over coffee and art, a space that will be the perfect outlet for creatives of all skill levels. Wish me luck as I wish you well. Happy New Year!