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What If It Is Ugly? How Art Therapy Heals


...I stink at art ...I don't know anything about making stuff ...I can't imagine making art can help Don't worry - no prior experience is required to grow through Art Therapy services! In fact, having a background in art is not necessary.  Now you are wondering if you'll be spending all your time learning how to draw, paint or sculpt.  Nope. Art Therapy has almost nothing to do with art class. In fact, the act of being asked to do something that is outside your comfort zone is what we are targeting through experiential services.  Imagine this, you are provided a variety of art materials to use. Maybe some of the materials are known to you, like markers, pencils, colored pencils or crayons. Others are new to you, you're not even sure how to use chalk or oil pastels, clay or water colors. Even weirder, there are colorful pipe cleaners, feathers, string and bubble wrap on the table. What would you even do with that? So do you choose to use the tried and true or something new? Let's take that example one step further. You've picked your material and now it's time to depict a current issue in your life... I bet you started to experience some discomfort. Maybe a few thoughts like "this is too hard," "she's setting me up to fail," "how can she do this to me?" are percolating in your head. Maybe you start to experience some feelings like overwhelmed, angry, irritated, frustrated or anxious.  Or began to have body sensations like increased heart rate, butterflies in your belly or tension in your shoulders.   Think back to the last time you thought, felt or experienced that.  I bet that might be some of the reasons why you are looking for services to begin with.  Experiential therapies rely on trying things that might feel uncomfortable or being able to see things in a new light. No prior experience necessary! Instead of talking, let's do something. When we create, explore and represent our innermost roadblocks, issues or beliefs we can start transforming them into something new. For many people, talking can be overwhelming. Or we can talk all day long without changing a thing about our situation. Either way, we do not grow or change. When we create art, we literally can see how our stuff is playing out in real time. Our therapists are trained in supporting change in that moment – so you can practice in a safe, supportive setting how you would like to do things differently. Experiences speak louder than words.

Marla Berger is a Registered Art Therapist who has been serving children, teens and adults for over 20 years. The American Art Therapy Association and Art Therapy Credentials Board oversee the field of Art Therapy in the United States. For more information on finding a Registered Art Therapist in your area, go to

Berger Counseling Services integrates art, play, games, sandtray and horses to facilitate change and growth. Reach out to schedule a free, 15 minute meet and greet, either in person in our outdoor Parkland, FL location or via telehealth.

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