Art & Healing: Collage (6/6)

Last but not least in this series about various modalities for healing through art is collage, about which I have written already. Honestly, I’ve been a little obsessed with it for the past year. Before that, I was into painting, but my detailed painting style meant that each one I did required many, many hours of work. But a collage — specifically a method called SoulCollage® — can easily be completed in an hour or two, often with profound results. I have introduced this method to many people, and I hear over and over how easy, enjoyable, satisfying, and even powerful it can be. Inevitably, a 1 1/2 or 2 hour session of silent collaging, either solo or in a group, is calming to the mind and emotions, almost meditative.

Following the method of SoulCollage®, what you will end up with over time is a stack of collage cards of uniform size, each expressing an aspect of your own soul, personality, identity, and/or influences. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I have found that identifying and putting on paper images that reflect my inner life can be subtly transformative. Our souls are such dark mazes, full of unexplored corners. Seldom do most people delve down deep enough to know their true self, much less reveal it to the world. But don’t worry, you don’t have to show your collages to anyone, though it can be hugely therapeutic to share them with a safe person or small group.

*** Savor ***

Some collages will undoubtedly be beautiful, colorful, sunny and exuberant, and, if you’re willing to dig down a little deeper, others will be darker and perhaps more painful. Try to avoid labeling these as “good” or “bad.” They are parts of you, and every part of you is precious, even the parts you wish would go away! These shadow parts have something to teach you. In a future post, perhaps I will tell you the story behind this one and how it contributed towards my healing.

*** Depression ***

But making the collages is only half the magic. The second step of giving them voice and letting them speak back to you is what makes this more than just a fun craft, like scrapbooking. It is usually where the transformation happens.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, for those who are interested, I will share this how-to video from Catherine Anderson, a SoulCollage® trainer with whom I was privileged to complete my own facilitator training.

The easiest way to get started with collage is to attend a group or workshop, because the facilitator will provide all the images, backing, and other supplies you need, as well as guidance. But I started totally on my own, at the suggestion of a friend and the above how-to video. I went to a used bookstore and bought some used magazines. Later, I got a doctor’s office to start giving me their old magazines. And soon I was off and running! I will soon be rounding the base at 100 — count ’em — collage cards! (I told you I was obsessed!) I would be happy to talk with you more about getting started — please feel free to contact me!

Next post: The Dutiful Daughter

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