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  • Scott Brennan

Art as therapy

The word therapy comes from the Greek word therapeia which means healing in the original language. Art is healing. In his book Art as Therapy, Alain de Botton wrote “Art holds out the promise of inner wholeness." This all sounds very grand but it is true. Most creative people will tell you that art is good for the soul. Now some artists delve deep into their pain and it motivates them but this can also be positive if it is channeled in the right direction. Kurt Cobain from Nirvana sadly did not find his therapy through his creativity. He stayed a troubled soul and took his own life despite all his fame and musical genius.


True art according to the publication Psychology Today "reflect spiritual principles and values like beauty, creativity, honesty, generosity, discernment, patience, and perseverance." These are soul qualities, something deep within us and seems like art (whatever form that might take) releases an inner life within us. Perhaps it helps us touch something that is dormant, or gives us access to a part of us that often remains hidden? How good does it feel to get your hands covered in paint, or clay? There is a freedom in expression, even if the art is no good, it can still feel good to do it. I remember once painting with my right hand (I am left handed) and I enjoyed the feeling of not being in control. I also went through a dark night of the soul and painted a few darker images that were very therapeutic for me. The one below is called Crashing Waves. It sold quickly at an exhibition I did. I think it spoke deeply to the person.

Crashing Waves

Another painting was called The Fight in the Heavens as I imagined good verses evil battling it out in another dimension. This was partially how I was feeling at the time. It really helped me to express it on canvas.

Fight in the Heavens

Whatever your creativity might be use it to release your inner world, and that might mean singing it out, painting it out or writing about it. Just don't let it become a toxic thing. Art is healing.

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