Hello and welcome to my very first psychotherapy column with Kindred Spirit! I am delighted to be here and working with all of you, in our new online therapy space. Each month I will be exploring various life issues that come up over and over again in the therapy room and offering professional solutions to readers.
With mental health being such a topical issue these days, many people are beginning to speak out about their personal struggles and are seeking answers. Private counselling can be expensive and NHS waiting lists are long, so in the meantime, check in here each month and you might find some tips and tricks to make your life a little easier. Let’s start gently with a creative therapy exercise for lifting the mood.
Low mood is one of the most common issues clients present in therapy and it doesn’t need to be a full scale depression to have a negative effect on your life. We all feel fed up or sorrowful at times. The low points in life are just as vital as the high points, because they help us to become stronger and more resilient. If you can pin point a specific event that triggered your low mood, such as divorce or bereavement, then it is quite natural to feel sad for a few months afterwards. Low mood only becomes a serious matter if it goes on for too long and there is no actual cause for it and in this case, you should consult your GP.
One thing I have found most effective in the therapy room is getting people to draw out their mood in some way, using creative art therapy to literally draw out their inner darkness and pin it down on the page. Using a large sketch pad I ask them to draw how they feel. They might draw a wall, or a cage because they feel blocked or trapped. They might cover the whole page in black charcoal because their mood is so dark and they can’t see a spark of light. Whatever they draw is fine, because this is just where they are right now. It’s a beginning.
Repeating this process and drawing out the darkness onto paper each day, helps to filter it out of your mind. It pins the mood and the dark thoughts down on the page, where you can see them and know exactly what you’re dealing with. The next step is to draw the same image, but put in some way to deal with it – so you might add a bulldozer to knock down the wall, or Harry Potter to wave his wand and take you into Diagon Alley! This helps you to see that you are in control of your emotions.
You can use this creative therapy tool to get a handle on depression; sketch it out day by day, adding different ways to deal with the darkness, effectively lifting your mood as you work. You can be as creative and as humorous as you like – there are no limits to what you draw. Try it and see if it helps and don’t forget to come back next month for more!
Marie Bruce x
About Author: Marie Bruce Dip. T. C. is a qualified psychotherapist and best-selling self-help author. Here she offers simple tools used by therapists to help clients and readers improve their mental well-being.