Art Journaling, Psychotherapy and Creativity

Art and journaling have been utilized in psychotherapy for many years to help a person heal and grow. 

There are many different ways to journal and adding images is another way to express our emotions and feelings.

It is also a wonderful way to manage stress because art and writing  engage our right brain which is more creative and intuitive.  It  releases our left brain from its job of being rational, analytical and logical.  It gives it a vacation for a moment which then gives the right brain permission to create and be more relaxed.   It creates a more hypnotic state which helps us feel calmer and more peaceful.  Are some of you saying, I am not creative?? Well, let me tell you that we are all creative in our own way and everyone of us can utilize some form of journaling to find our own creativity. Remember this is not fine art, it is a way to express our emotions and feelings in a way in which we can gain more insight or maybe just release them.  A journal page may be as ugly as we feel so there is a freedom with getting it outside ourselves and then creating space to find solutions or heal.

So just how does one start to art journal?  Oh my, there are so many ways but to create a simple and cost effective journal, utilize what you have.  A note book, an old hard cover book you don’t mind altering, some pens, crayons, paint, watercolors, magazines, paper, ephemera, anything you can find that will adhere to paper.  I have to tell you that two products Gesso and Matte Medium are two must haves for me.  Gesso is a chalky substance that can be put on paper to make it stronger and it also is wonderful to erase what you don’t like.  Matte Medium is a wonderful adherence but plain old white glue works just fine.  This type of journaling lends itself to recycling as well.  You can utilize many found objects or something that you would generally throw away. So just experiment which is so much part of the process.  The goal is to process emotions and to have fun!

I am going to give you a prompt to get youstarted and suggest you begin your journal with a “What if…..?”  Begin journaling and adding images related to this prompt.  Here is what I did for this prompt:  “The 2 sides of  What if….?”


So much fun!  I plan to continue helping you create a wonderful and meaningful art journal so check back often.

I would love to hear any comments and ideas!

Have fun!!

Cheryl Rubin, MSW, LCSW

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