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The Healing Power of Art: Art Therapy and Somatic Work

Updated: Apr 26

by Shannon Jones, AMFT

Art Therapy and Somatic Work Los Angeles

As an Art Therapist, the first question I'm often asked is, "what is that?" Many people's understanding of art therapy revolves around its association with working with children or attending art and crafts classes. However, once understood, many of us connect with the profound impact that tapping into our inner creativity can have on our overall well-being.

Although my professional training is in Art Therapy, my personal journey with the healing power of art began on a deeply personal level. Throughout my upbringing, I consistently turned to art-making as a means to calm myself and reconnect with my inner self. Unbeknownst to me, I was navigating and expressing deeply rooted emotions, regulating my nervous system, and enhancing my connection to my senses, body, and soul.

In essence, art therapy involves integrating art creation within a therapeutic setting. In my practice, expressive arts encompass not only traditional mediums like painting, drawing, and sculpture but also music, meditation, dance, movement, photography, and more. Art therapy incorporates integrative techniques designed to heighten sensory experiences and perception, facilitating a greater alignment of mind, body, and soul. 

The objective of this creative therapy is to facilitate the expression of thoughts and emotions in ways that may not be easily achievable through verbal communication alone. This approach effectively bridges the unspoken language of the body with the explicit language of art, aiding individuals in better understanding their past and present experiences. 

Creating within a space grounded in safety and trust enables us to grasp the significance of using our bodies as portals for listening to, comprehending and managing our diverse experiences.

Integrating art therapy with somatic work grants us the freedom to articulate emotions in an entirely new way, one that resonates with the subconscious and empowers us to give voice to our emotional and experiential landscapes.

Throughout my practice, I've encountered numerous clients who initially express hesitation with some variation of, "I'm not creative; I'm not an artist." Fortunately, in this space, there is no need to conform to any preconceived notions or art.

As the artist Howard Ikemoto aptly remarked:

"When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw.

She stared back at me, incredulous, and said:

'You mean they forget?'"

Engaging with our bodies and emotions is an act of profound soul work, and art serves as a powerful conduit for this exploration. If you're interested in delving deeper into art therapy or somatic healing, feel free to reach out and connect!

Clinical Art Therapy Los Angeles

Shannon Jones is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Clinical Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University. Her professional experience includes extensive psychotherapy work, providing trauma-informed care to individuals, couples, and families, as well as incorporating creative modalities like art and somatic work. Shannon's therapeutic approach is characterized by deep compassion and a client-centered focus, aiming to create a supportive environment that respects the individuality of each client. Passionate about healing and personal growth, she integrates various therapeutic modalities and emphasizes the importance of humor and connection in her sessions. Outside of her therapy practice, Shannon enjoys exploring museums, cooking, hiking, and cherishes the balance and learning these activities bring to her life.

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