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Vulnerability and the art of expression

By ANGELA M. SE

art by DANEA PATRICIA T. VILOG

HONESTY IS key to art, and as much as it comes at a price of one’s vulnerability, to manifest oneself is to reveal the wounds that need healing or unearth one’s hidden burdens.

Just like any therapies, honesty in oneself is a must to uncover issues and repressions to have a better understanding of one’s current situation. However, not everyone would find it easy to talk about their issues and this is how Expressive Arts Therapy has come into the picture.

Expressive Arts Therapy focuses mainly on one’s exploration of expression to channel his or her manifestation, may it be through traditional art, movements, or dancing. In short, this entails one to find his/her best mode of expression through the arts.

Adrienne Santos, Communications Officer of Magis Creative Spaces Therapy Center, said Expressive Arts Therapy is actually a community-based intervention that aims to help individuals find their best or most comfortable mode of expression for the purpose of making a connection with others.

In the conception of Expressive Arts as a therapy, its founders came from diverse cultures that had aimed to find a common ground in understanding the diversity of how people express themselves.

However, given the diverse cultures that people are now exposed to, differences have become more of an emphasis that results to some people to avoid the expression of the fear of being judged.

With this, the arts provide a non-invasive intervention because it allows one to freely manifest themselves. When something comes out of the arts, whether one is aware of it or not, a picture is formed on the person’s current state, Santos explained.

This process of manifesting oneself is what they call “decentering” or bringing someone out of their reality. With decentering, self-inhibitions to freely express oneself is slowly lifted without making the feeling of being forced to do so.

In this pursuit, the Expressive Arts Therapy aims to build not just a person’s ability to express himself/herself but as well understand his/her uniqueness to understand the same thing for others.

The diversity of cultures also come with more diverse experiences. A lot of people go through a lot of things but with the world so fast-paced, people would tend to overlook on reflecting on their issues and this somehow leads to suffering mental health problems.

Issues on mental health have become a prevalent across the globe and this is a reality often reduced to a concept that stigmatizes people that go through it. However, the change in this mindset is not a shot in the dark as there is still hope when it comes to understanding oneself.

Self-care practice, as what Santos would call it, is a must for everyone.

Practicing self-care would require one to be self-aware and gain a better understanding of oneself. This creates an endless ripple in alleviating not only his/her own pains but also with others by being more understanding and emphatic of people’s struggles.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness,” a quote from the book of author-researcher Brene Brown titled “Daring Greatly” read.

Being honest in the exploration of expression is allowing one to become more understanding of the differences in people and their situations. The art of expression is not only for one to behold the beauty in people, but to help people see the beauty within themselves. F

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