Art, as Stepping into the Grey


by Allegra Borghese

Santa Fe Art TheraphyI am very excited to be helping participants at Zephyrus of Santa Fe to explore and learn about themselves through the expressive arts. Oftentimes people are caught up in the image of who they think they are supposed to be and forget the freedom in not living according to the rules of this image. However, in the art, people have the opportunity to invite the parts of themselves that have been denied back into the conversation of identity, lifestyle and expression. They have the opportunity to engage the symbols and images of their souls in a way that revives them. Guided visualizations, art making and body-based exercises help participants to experience themselves holistically instead of as objects of a diet or disease. There is no emphasis whatsoever placed on one’s technical skills or aesthetic results during art therapy; the art only serves as an alternate way of showing what may or may not be happening internally within.

Some themes explored in art therapy at Zephyrus include family structure, boundaries, gender construction, body image, internalized messages, inner resources, the addictive cycle, self-care goals and visions for the future, among many others. Thinking of art as a language, at times images can open up doors when words alone are not enough. It is common to become stuck at the level Art Therapy Paintingsof the mind, or to know everything cognitively yet feel an overwhelming sense of emptiness or disconnection that is confusing. Art at Zephyrus becomes a way to remember, engage and strengthen the mind-body connection. It is a bridge into the present moment, whereby one learns to attune to the intelligence of his or her intuition.

Disordered eating is often a result of perfectionistic, black and white thinking; rigid rules and harsh demands are considered ways to ensure success or happiness. Ultimately, however, this does not work, and art provides a means by which to acknowledge the pain in these demands and step into the grey. The gift in participating in the expressive arts is rediscovering the joy of spending time with oneself in a context where neither production nor perfection is the agenda, and where simply being is enough. Being you is enough. It is amazing when people shed the constructs of self that no longer serve them and embrace their true selves, who have been waiting to be accepted all along.


For more information regarding Art Therapy in Santa Fe NM please contact Zephyrus.