Bible Study & Art Therapy?

by Theresa Arita
(Auburn, ME)

I want to combine my concern for hurting Christians, use peer counseling and art therapy (learned at college for a school counseling degree), and Bible studies to encourage believers to avail themselves of God's healing power.

Have any of you tried this before, for yourself or with others? Say, helping someone, or yourself, through a loss with specific Bible verses and then creating an art project around it (not for exhibit, but for therapy)?

I am an artist also recovering from PTSD, addiction, depression and anxiety with the Bible's amazing help and God's healing love. Jesus is leading the way, but I want to do more to help others.

Please let me know your thoughts, experiences, or resources for continuing such a ministry. Thank you!

Comments for Bible Study & Art Therapy?

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Artists for the kingdom
by: Alaina

Hello,
I am a born again Spirit filled. Believer and follower of Jesus Christ. I also have my masters in counseling and art therapy. There is so much I want to say, but will be brief. My journey in art therapy was not so easy. Working as a somewhat disguised Christian in secular often dreary environments for over 20 years had taken its toll. I worked in residential settings, schools, prison, hospitals and churches. Although, I consider some of it training ground, I often longed for the freedoms to be open in my faith. Even in Christian environments there were was limitation to what can be shared. I find it is oppressive to not be able to openly share, But thankfully it's a new season!

I have just started painting again after many years as all the analysis and process etc took the love of art away. I am now rising again and teaching a class for kingdom artists. I am trying to find and start a healing prophetic art center along with counseling for artists and people from church and in the community.. Yes everyone has jumped on the license bandwagon and getting jobs can be easier, but it is not the only avenue. Btw depending on your state you do not need a license to practice, but cannot accept insurance.

Creativity and the arts are rising up for His glory! Be encouraged as a new move of God is coming forth! Contact me at ThePathofPurpose.com if you have any questions or need a lil guidance.

All For Him,
Alaina.Kaz

Same exact boat
by: Sam

You know the funny thing is.. is that I am in the same boat.
I want to be an art therapist, but I can't quite seem to find the niche. I want to turn it into a ministry.. I think I want to work with kids.. but still struggling to figure out how to get where I want to go. I also am recovering from addiction, PTSD, major anxiety, and major depression through God's healing power. I am going to take the time to read the rest of the comments and such but I can't really think of what info I have to share with you as of this moment..
Just know that you aren't alone! Keep praying! I will pray for both my dreams to come true as well as yours.


Using Therapeutic Art in Christian Ministry
by: Paula

12/10/2016 It's difficult to know how old this discussion is so this input may quietly fade into cyberspace. However, I felt compelled to add my two cents worth. I have a M.A. in Christian counseling and am currently doing doctoral research to discover "The Efficacy of Field Missionaries Using Art as a Therapeutic Tool" thus the interest in this topic. I'm also a registered psychotherapist, have a private practice, and conduct mental health and therapeutic art training for humanitarian and mission organizations in Kenya.

Therapeutic art is extremely effective and simple to teach, even to oral learners that are the common caregivers in many developing countries, where mental health care is in short supply. As believers in Christ, we first seek to share the message of ultimate healing through trusting Christ. However, for those whose trust is shattered by severe emotional or physical trauma, trust must first be rebuilt, and creative expression offers a means to begin the rebuilding process. By offering a place to express that which has escaped expression, by placing THAT-whatever it is-OUT, onto paper, into sand or clay, it can then be shared and when shared, becomes less threatening. Hope and trust start to grow. I have seen it hundreds of time; in a young girl so badly abused, she could not speak, or a woman who suffered unspeakable acts of violence. DISCLAIMER: It's not primarily due to my years of education and background, but because of Christ's love in me.

Google abounds in information on the educational requirements and the differences between an art therapist (a.t.), expressive arts therapist (e.a.t.), licensed professional counselor, and someone who uses the creative arts as a therapeutic tool. Even though there are differences, all require basic mental health and art education. For those interested in pursuing art therapy in combination with areas of Christian counseling, pastoral or private practice, you should be trained in both mental health care and art education. You don't necessarily have to be a good artist but you do have to have a basic knowledge of artists tools and various art making techniques.

There are two paths: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or lay counselor. To call yourself a professional counselor or set up a private practice, all states require you be licensed and no agency or hospital will hire you without being licensed. A state licensed requires at least a Master's degree and at least two years of supervise work. The second path, lay counselor (pastoral, life couches fall under this category), in most states, can counsel in a private charity or Christian organizations without being licensed by the state. In this setting, you can also use therapeutic art activities although you cannot call yourself an art therapist. You are simply using art as a therapeutic tool. I hope this information has helped someone. If you want to know more, contact me at International Arts in Healthcare - facebook.



Christian artist networks
by: Fred Baumbach

To those looking for other Christian Artists,
I'm involved in a Christian Artist group on facebook that has really blossomed and covers all levels artists. It's "Prophetic Arts for Jesus".
To Jesus be the glory, Fred

Reply to Wanda :)
by: Anonymous

Hi Wanda!

You responded to this thread a bit earlier in the post, but I felt like I needed to let you know that a friend recommended a book series to me by Theresa Dedmon. I am pretty sure she is not a licensed Art Therapist... (nor have I read any of her books, to be honest.) :)

I've been drawn to this book because of the title: 'Born to Create: Stepping into Your Supernatural Destiny', and the other book my friend specifically recommended to me was 'Cultivating Kingdom Creativity' also by Mrs. Dedmon.

Good luck with your adventures and happy creating. May God empower you to move forward in this endeavor according to what needs to happen. :)


Peace!


God's healing through Art
by: Roberta Williams

Hi,
This is so interesting and timely right now, and I think you are on to something of and for the Lord. I have seen on the news in just the last few weeks that veterans have had better results with more holistic, faith based therapy for PTS (or PTSD). I'm not sure how recent these posts here are, because there is no date on any of them, but I have recently made a decision to go to grad school with the intention of becoming an Christian art therapist. I am the wife of a veteran and a professional artist (www.robertawilliamsart.com or @robertawilliamsart). I have also taught art for many years. I have seen God bring healing to my students through the therapeutic process of creating art. I also know two things to be absolutely true: God is the most brilliant artist, and only God can heal people. However, He works through us and with us, also. I speak about Jesus, the Cross and the Scriptures often when I teach, and I have thought and prayed about this for years.

However, art therapy degree programs are not common, and Christian art therapy degrees are even more uncommon. I
hope to see that change in future years. I will be attending a Christian university to pursue a masters in professional counseling, and I plan to do my practicum and internship with a lisenced art therapist. When I've talked about this, some have expressed an interest in this helping those with PTS (PTSD).

I believe God is moving here in this, and I feel blessed that others are seeing it as well.
God bless,
Roberta


Founder, Iguana Art Academy (iguanaacademy.com)
by: Tim Chambers

Hi Theresa-

Are you qualified as a therapist? I am looking for someone to create a much-needed Art Therapy course for our online art school. I have first-hand experience with families who would love such a course, both for adults and children, to serve a variety of needs, including special needs students and people who are cognitively fine but going through a traumatic or difficult time.

If you or anyone reading this is interested and feels qualified to create a course, let me know.

Oh- and it's very intuitive and not difficult to create a course, especially if you have a good sense of artistic design and experience and joy in teaching. And if you know PowerPoint, then you're good to go! :)

If interested, visit www.iguanaacademy.com/resources drop me a line at tim@iguanaacademy.com for a chat. :)

Tim Chambers

hello
by: Anonymous

Hello!

I found your post by searching "biblical art therapy" on Bing. I am also a trained artist by worldly standards, who was diagnosed with PTSD. I was seeking/searching to see if I could find anything about biblical counseling specifically in the area of art, because my art background in high school and college is so tied up with the emotional wounds I received before I came to know the Lord. But I am trusting on faith that He can and will and is continuing to heal those wounds. There should definitely be a bible study art therapy time in which worldly gifts and talents are put into the context of spiritual gifts (as well as fruit). For example, I was trained to make art based on my own ideas, opinions and feelings. But focusing on those led to certain shipwreck. Art focused on God's ideas, expressed through Christ in us, God's thoughts and feelings-- however that may look-- seems a noble, yet perhaps unobtainable goal, without deep prayer and meditation on scripture, as well as seeking wise counsel. Art can surely be used to build up the Church, but only if we completely surrender it.

Wonderful discussion; looking for art therapy teacher
by: Timothy Chambers

This has been a wonderful discussion. It is great to hear how art can be a vehicle for healing. Having been a professional artist my entire career, for a long time I me I only saw art as something to master, and painting as a means of responding to the beauty around us. However,when I saw unskilled students deriving much joy from attending my classes, I began to see art as a means of joy above all else. Look at the delight that both young child and parent derive from the child's rudimentary, colorful, whimsical painting.

It is no surprise, then, to see the powerful therapeutic role the creating of art (or better- the art of creativity?) can have upon a person, whether for emotional, spiritual, or cognitive healing or growth. I am loving how my understanding of art has expanded from simply a skill to be mastered to one that echoes the heart and mind of our Maker.

As a result, I am searching for someone to teach an art therapy course for our online art school, Iguana Art Academy (www.iguanaacademy.com). Someone with a combination of an effective teacher, practicing artist, a heart of compassion, and the message of hope. Any interests or referrals are welcome. Thank you :)

Help of the Holy Spirit
by: Sara

Hi Rebekah,

I can't honestly say that I understood all the terminology or concepts that you were describing in your post. Some words that you used make me distinctly uncomfortable, like "a Christian Shaman". The word "Shaman" has new age connotations. To use it in conjunction with "Christian" is akin to mixing the Holy with the profane.

Being led by the Holy Spirit and living a victorious life in Christ is distinctly different from any other life on the planet. It is delightfully simple and joyful!

We dwell in Christ, His spirit leads and guides us in every aspect of our lives, including our art.

Through the process of leaning upon Him and His wisdom, we gain insight into the practical matters of living. If we need healing, we receive it, if resources, that too is provided, peace - also taken care of.....!

The Bible yields it truths to a searching human heart ONLY with the help of the Holy Spirit, not by any rigid method or system. The truths in the Bible are infinitely superior, particularly in terms of dealing with the spiritual roots of issues that require "therapy".

Perhaps that is what you were suggesting. It was unclear, at least to me.

I pray that God will guide you in your search to find, in the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ, all the answers to questions that you seek.

In Him,
Sara

Seeking Christian Theory in Art Therapy
by: Rebekah Copas

I am a Christian, and currently studying Art Therapy, in an Advanced Diploma (two year) course, in Australia at the Ikon Institute. So far I am unimpressed with the course, and its transpersonal bias, but very engaged by learning Art Therapy. I found your site in early stages of my seeking out Art Therapy resources (and theory if any exists), which is Christian in perspective.

In general, I am a stay at home mother, with little education or work experience, although my father is an academic and my mother is a school teacher. My previous experience is in the Community sector in Australia, and as a youth worker, and practicing homeopathy among friends, family, and eventually paying customers. You could call me a Christian Shaman, for want of a more appropriate job description.

What drew me into Art Therapy, is in having begun a qualification in Homeopathy and alternative health science, (eg Naturopathy), but I discontinued the study because I did not enjoy the tension that was going down, between those eager to prove a scientific basis of alternative health care, and those eager to prove any non-Christian based Spiritual basis of alternative health care. As a Christian, I could see the flaws in the desperate way many alternative health care specialists want to prove themselves scientific, but in ways counter productive to health. They were chasing an outcome little different to those who insisted that any non-Christian spiritual way could provide health.

Instead, I studied Theology a while, but felt disinclined towards the Academic gradings of Religious feeling. I had begun studying in the Constantine tradition, but when I had already begun moving outside of that tradition. But in Theology, what I liked very much, is an area called "Practical Theology".

Practical theology involved a process, of identifying a social or personal issue that was currently unresolved, then finding a metaphor that related into the issue, and then finding Bible verses that relate to the metaphor, rather than going straight to the Bible, while feeling bogged down in the issue, and uncertain. I have a strong notion, that this same process, can incorporate Art Therapy. Because finding the correct Bible verses to help resolve an issue, might be easier to do around an Art work, than around the issue itself.

My choice to move away from my Anglican heritage, and Anglican Theology, join a new Church, and now study Art Therapy, was a hard choice, but it felt inevitable. Yet I am now studying in a very un-Christian context. The Ikon Institute was seeking to align Art Therapy, via transpersonal psychotherapy, with pre-Christian belief systems, and pre-Christian systems of health care, such as Shamanism. Now, as a Christian, I happen also to be acquainted with a significant number of Christian traditional indigenous healers, or Shaman, (Ngungkari is their title in their own languages), who have acknowledged my own skills in healing. Their acknowledgement feels like a greater qualification than modern academia could provide.

Where I want to dispute the Ikon Institute's theoretical basis, is only in its leaning away from Christianity, rather than it its emphasis on Shamanic practices in health care. Therefore, I am kind of tackling the transpersonal theory head on, and wanting to prove, that as long as we sustain absolute faith in Jesus being King of Kings, and through him are certain One God is real, all the rest of the pre-Christian beliefs that transpersonal psychology was being bogged down too far with, will do no harm to our Christian hearts and Christ centered concepts of what enables real health.


Art flows from within!
by: Sara

Hi Maritzela,
What a lovely description of the Lord using your creative ability to heal your grief!
As Christians, because creating art is a non verbal worshipful activity, it is a wonderful way to allow the Holy Spirit to work in, and through us to heal, restore and refresh us from within.
May God continue to use your work to bless others.
Sara

We are Gods creation, why not bible study and art therapy
by: Maritzela McGreevy

I think that is a great idea. I remember when I lost my 90 year old grandmother. She lived in Panama, I didn't have enough money to go to her funeral, I grieved and I felt guilt for not being able to pay my respects like my other family members. In my grief I began to make paper mache vases and bowls, and little by little I felt better, after a while, I could finally exhale and not feel like I was going to fall apart. the art I created I gave to my sons teachers, and I taught the children how to paint them. The experience I know God had a plan, he created me and gave me and all of us talents to use not bury and through our journeys in life we can create beautiful things to help others, we end up helping ourselves as well.

Using art to process grief
by: wanda

I so appreciate all you've said on using scripture and art together to allow God to heal us. I am 50 years old and studied art as a young person working as a graphic artist. Over the years I put my art on the shelf as I married, worked and later had children. I always missed doing art but since my mother's recent death the yearning to do art has become loud and constant. I wish I could do art therapy (biblically based of course) to help me with losing my mom but I want to use my sorrow and my love of the creatve process to help otherd

grief, the bible and art
by: wanda

I too am wanting to help others navigate, process and walk through grief over loss using God's word and art as well as do this for myself. I am an artistic person who majored in art but let it go over the busy years of raising a family. Now I find myself in a very dark place of grief over the loss of my mom to cancer. Everything within me is screaming to do art but I want to aporoach it prayerfully. Do you know of any Art Therapyy books with a Christian worldview?

Christian Art Expression
by: Julie

I am a christian who and an artist. I went through a horrible head-on traumatic car accident. My face was smashed into the steering wheel along with many other life changing injuries. I used my art to help survive through it all and as I had several years of rehab, God kept working on me to use art and His Word to help facilitate healing in the lives of others. Here is an old website of how it all began, but from what you will read in the website, a Christian art Ministry was born. It developed into a wonderful ministry in which I never went back and filled in the old website. Here is the old website address. With out God's Word, there is no real healing. Click on the art link and read about my own experience but also about the first lady I was able to work with.
http://artisticpage.com/julies-heart/igmt-min/html/art_therapy.html

Art in the prisons
by: Patty Fiorilli

I am delighted to find this site.
I meet with women inmates for bible study bi-weekly. This week after meeting with prison official I got the ok to do art with the prisoners. I provided a written explanation of the benefits for the inmates, along with a set of goals and a lesson plan. I am so excited about it. God put it on my heart to integrate art with scripture last year and now He is making it possible. Thank you, my Lord and Savior.

Response and Thanks
by: Theresa

Thank you both for your responses.

I got one idea for this when I drew simple pictures for my young daughter and she painted, or colored them, while I read the Bible story to go with them - Daniel and the lions, Jesus' parables, etc.

Then in the Expressive Arts as Therapy class, I experienced movement therapy, drumming therapy, "speaking" through nature drawing/poem pieces, and other ways of doing art that were very easy and insight-giving.

It seems Christians could use a safe way to open up like this - within the boundaries of the Bible's guidance.

I've given a few paintings away with scriptures on them, that I think encourage the recipients. I've also written up some "lesson plans" but have no one but myself to try them out on.

I'll let you know my progress - good luck your own work for the Kingdom!

Art & Bible Study
by: Susanna Mills

I don't have any experience, and I'm pretty hopeless at doing anything consistently-but I sure would love to give this a go! It certainly has been on my heart to establish an 'artistic' bible study, but I wouldn't know where to start.

I don't know of any Christian Creativity-specific resources except this one. There is an Arts Bible study group I heard about nearby, so must do some research. All the best with what you are doing- do keep us posted!

Sara: I am working on a book to explain better the lessons that I've learned. This website was created to address the gap in useful information for creative Christians. I hope to have the book available soon.

Art as visual aid in a Nursing Home
by: Fred Baumbach

Theresa,
I have used acrylic paintings to help instruct at a Nursing home and as a Bible study visual aid. I have noticed that even though you may start with what you feel the Lord has put on your heart, God often has His own purpose on an individual level.
Just as music speaks at a deeper level than the conscious, so with art. It is often birthed at unconscious level and ministers that way.
I have submitted some pieces here on the gallery page.

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