How suddenly our lives have changed since COVID and lock downs. We can feel off balance, insecure, uncertain, maybe even silent and speechless. To some it’s the kind of silence that can feel like the calm before the storm. It can be difficult to put language around lingering emotions and thoughts, sometimes causing anxiety and depression. In my practice, I have found that images can help.
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.
I discovered the power of art and psychology many years ago, when my adult daughter was only seven years old. I was the art mom for her class at the High Museum. My charge was to expose the children to a piece of art and to encourage them to express their impressions and emotions. The reactions and discussions were dynamic, even for a group of seven year olds.
I remember the name of the painting we discussed, Tornado Over Kansas, by John Steuart Curry. Interestingly, there seems to be a striking resemblance to what many are experiencing around COVID-19. Security and clarity are being challenged.
Naming a feeling is a very helpful tool in the counseling world. A simple question around the image can put words and clarity to abstract attitudes and emotions one might be experiencing in these uncertain times. It can also initiate a meaningful counseling session that might otherwise be stalled.
We certainly cannot have a counseling session within a blog, but test if this methodology might be for you. As you look at the painting, consider which person with whom you identify. Notice what your person is holding. What would you hold? Can you name what feeling is rising in you?
If you’d like to explore more, reach out to your therapist. If not, simply enjoy a moment to learn about a new piece of art. Engaging in creativity can be very up-lifting.
Written By: Sheri Schulze