Do you ever feel stuck in the present?
Especially when people are struggling, going through a difficult time, or suffering from depression, it can be difficult to imagine a future that is different or better. An art therapy directive that can help is to create a postcard that you would like to receive from your future self. Many thanks to my former art therapy supervisor, Susan Reichmann, for originally suggesting this directive to me.
On the front of the postcard, create an image that represents something about how you would like your life to be in the future (for example, five years from now). On the back, write a note from your future self – give yourself advice or encouragement, describe what life is like for you in the future, and explain how you got there. You can easily cut card stock into postcard sized rectangles and use your medium of choice, collage, drawing, painting, etc.
As an art therapist, I have found that this directive is very helpful in getting clients to think about how they would like to be and to instill some hope for the future. It can serve as a good reminder that whatever they are struggling with is not going to last forever and that something different can be in their future. I have also found that it is helpful to discuss how you can get to the future that you want. What are the steps that you need to take? Who are the people that will support you? Envisioning the future that you want is a good first step, but you must then take the necessary steps to move toward.
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Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR provides art therapy and counseling for children and teens in Austin, Texas. For more information about individual therapy, child and teen counseling, family therapy, teen group therapy, and art therapy services, please visit: www.therapywithcarolyn.com.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in mental health, psychotherapy, counseling, art therapy, or play therapy. Although anyone can have a healing experience with art, art therapy requires the direction of a trained art therapist.
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