During my many years working as an art therapist I have realized that when clients become blocked from healing that at the root: some part of them believes that they are not worthy of healing, or of their own love. Because of this awareness, I have been incorporating creative self-compassion practices into my own personal work and in my work with clients for many years. Art therapy assists people in feeling the truth in their own hearts by slowing down and connecting to their own expressions. People's art helps them to understand how they block themselves and what they believe to be true so that they can make conscious choices for themselves moving forward. We are able to express through our own hearts the parts of us that believe that we are worthy of healing, of self-love and goodness in our lives. Once we can feel this truth within, we are then open and receptive to our own love because we remember that we are worthy; we feel this truth in our own being - but it has to come from us.
Kristen Neff, PhD is a great resource on this topic as she has been studying and researching the topic of self-compassion for years. Her website is a great resource and shares research as well as guided meditations and daily practices that you can begin to use to practice opening to your own love.
In 2016 I reached out to my art therapist colleague, Stephanie Cimmet while looking for connection with other expressive arts therapists in private practice here in Maine. We discovered through our conversations that we had been traveling all over the country to take courses, workshops and trainings in the expressive arts and that there were none being offered in Maine - and very few were being offered in New England. Our Maine community was not well educated on the healing power of the expressive arts. Also, our Maine community of expressive art therapists was spread thinly throughout the state and we really did not know each other or have many opportunities to gather.
Stephanie and I decided to begin to host The Annual Self-Compassion Symposium to share creative self-care practices combining the theme of self-compassion with the expressive arts. This year we are hosting our 3rd Annual event on June 1st in Freeport, Maine and we have a full panel of expressive arts therapists: music therapists, art therapists, expressive arts therapists and dance and movement therapists. Everyone will learn the creative self-love practices through their own experiences, either for themselves or for use with their clients if they are professionals. We have had people attend from many other states and even other countries! We had no idea how rare of an opportunity this event was and how the people who needed these kind of experiences would be inspired to make it happen and attend, no matter where they were from.
We invite you with open arms and hearts to attend this special event. Everyone attending has something in common - we are learning and healing through our experience. We are all exploring the gentle theme of self-compassion and believing we are worthy of healing.