Art as a Powerful Healing Tool
“Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain”
Consu Tolosa (Uruguay, UWC-USA 1988-1990) became an art therapist in 2000 after observing the versatility and power of visual expression as she worked with children in a classroom setting.
Since receiving her Master’s in Art Therapy, Consu has been working with people for whom verbal expression is either limited or limiting. Art therapists offer people art as a language for expression; to new way access healing, insight and comfort. The 2-year clinical training includes developing an understanding of how to utilize specific properties in various art materials and how to create “art directives” (a sort of “prompt”) that will elicit expression, facilitate internal contact with emotions, thought structures, and patterns to eventually lead to insight, healing and the relief of the suffering which prompted the visit in the first place. Art therapy also offers the person engaging in the process the ability to enjoy art for art’s sake.
“My first foray into connecting deeply without using language was during my time as a student at UWC-USA in beautiful New Mexico. High level of emotions were frequently met with a limited vocabulary and so movement, art, music, making food, and all other forms of creative expression, became assistants in creating connection and sharing feelings. I didn’t know it then, but my faith in nonverbal expression was a tiny seed planted all those years back.
Today I feel incredibly privileged and honored to be able to witnesses a kind of alchemical transformation in the life of clients who are willing to suspend their overtaxed cognitive function in favor or a much more sensory experience. Watching someone learn to trust their creative process is watching them learn to recognize and trust their most essential self. Often times the ‘stuck energy that is at the root of a person’s suffering becomes transformed into a visual work, sometimes beautiful, sometimes gut-wrenching, but always filled with power and personal meaning. Using art in the service of healing is a long, and often slow process. It has taught me patience and appreciation for the incremental nature of change and growth”.
Art-making, as self-care and a vehicle to connect with joy, is a regular occurrence in Consu's life. You can see more of her personal work at www.consutolosa.com.