The false choice between process and product

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I want my art to be healing, so I must focus on process - true. The focus on process however does not mean that you cannot also be concerned with asthetics. You can be interested in the product! Just not obsessively perfectionist, snobby or judgemental.  

It's not a devil's choice.

I know I am harping on this. But when I look over the art I made in my expressive arts training, it doesn't feel like "me." I keep it as a reminder of the training the healing that occurred, but when I look at it, I can't help but wonder if there is a different way of making healing art that doesn't feel like a stranger to me.

Is it just me? Am I the only one who got it in her head that in order for art to be healing, you can't use any of your training?

There is a saying somewhere that a therapist or a healer can only take you as far as they themselves are willing to go; they can't go beyond the point of their own healing. That applies to art as well. There are art therapists and coaches who use arts-based methods, but do not have a studio art background. That does not at all mean that their methods are less effective, but simply that the product that results will reflect their experience in the arts. This might be frustrating if you know more about art than they do. It might feel regressive.

If you have been to art school or majored in art, you have different needs than someone who is self taught.  I know I sound like a snob, but people who have not studied art really don't understand it, or the process that created it. So it is quite easy for someone from a therapy background to say, hey, set all that training aside and play.

Even trained artists who move into the expressive arts field say this sometimes. They had a bad time in art school, learned to make art to please others, and so letting go of all that to finally find their own voice is an amazing process.

It seems that part of finding that voice is completely letting go of everything they learned and starting over. Except, they aren't really. The knowledge is all still there, in their muscles. They are playing on an entirely different level, very elegant play, but their training is still there.

And there is nothing wrong with that. Taking expertise and learning to play with it is the true creativity. And it can be a healing process as well.