Skip to main content

These days, therapy wears many hats, and some of them are streaked with paint, thrum with melodies, or sway to the rhythms of dance. At the forefront of this therapeutic revolution is “Art Therapy” – a fascinating blend of colour, emotion, and introspection. But this kind of creative healing isn’t the only star in the therapeutic universe; several creative modalities are changing the way people heal, express, and grow. This tapestry of therapeutic practices offers a palette of possibilities for wellbeing, each with its unique brushstroke on the canvas of self-care. Let’s explore these transformative modalities that are painting a new picture of wellness.

Art Therapy and an artists workshop showing paints and drawings.

Art Therapy

Art therapy is an engaging journey into the psyche using visual mediums. Under the guidance of trained professionals, individuals are encouraged to create and reflect on their art, leading to improved awareness and understanding of themselves. The beauty of art therapy lies in its ability to transcend language, allowing participants to delve into their subconscious and address emotions that might be difficult to articulate verbally. Whether it’s through painting a traumatic memory or sculpting aspirations, art therapy offers a tangible way to process intangible feelings.

Tips:

  • Start with a blank canvas and let your mood guide your choice of colors and shapes.
  • Create a ‘mood board’ using magazine clippings to visually express your aspirations and desires.
  • Engage in ‘free drawing’ to music, allowing the rhythm to influence your hand movements.

Equine Therapy

Equine Therapy harnesses the therapeutic power of horses to promote healing and personal growth. Through interactions like grooming, feeding, and riding, participants learn about non-verbal communication, developing a deeper sense of self-awareness and empathy. This form of therapy, often facilitated by professionals, offers a path to emotional breakthroughs and can be particularly effective for those looking to build confidence and improve communication skills. A place where this experience comes to life is Seahorse at Wattle Bank Farm. Here, the pace slows down, inviting guests to connect with the resident horses in a meaningful way through natural horsemanship lessons on a farm that celebrates a slower, more intentional way of living.

‘We often hear from our clients that in the presence of the horses, they begin to feel an almost inexplicable sense of wellbeing and peace,’ says Beatrice, owner of Wattle Bank Farm. ‘The research shows a myriad of benefits from a reduction of stress, tension, and anxiety, to lowered blood pressure and heart rates, followed by a rise in beneficial feelings of trust, empowerment, and simply put, love.

We love bringing a little magic to solo travellers and families when we deliver one-on-one and group classes, workshops, and retreats at Wattle Bank Farm.

To us, the horses embody what we share with our guests, which, in essence, is the combined power of fearless and wholesome living. You cannot help but feel simultaneously awed and empowered even after spending just an hour with them, and the bonus is you get to carry this memory back in your heart and implement the learnings in your life.

Blue Ridge Estate in Victoria’s tranquil Tallangatta Valley offers an immersive ‘Sip, Paint & Stay’ package. Accommodating four guests, this experience melds the reflective practice of art therapy with the indulgence of fine wine and local delicacies. Guided by a professional art therapist, participants explore their inner selves amidst the estate’s reclaimed beauty and natural splendour.

At Blue Ridge Estate in Victoria’s tranquil Tallangatta Valley, you can book an immersive ‘Sip, Paint & Stay’ package. Accommodating four guests, this experience melds the reflective practice of art therapy with the indulgence of fine wine and local delicacies. Guided by a professional art therapist, participants explore their inner selves amidst the estate’s reclaimed beauty and natural splendour, where art becomes both a sanctuary and a celebration of the human spirit.

Tips:

  • Before your session, spend a few moments simply observing the horses to see which one you feel drawn to.
  • While interacting with the horse, focus on your breathing and notice if your emotions sync with the horse’s responses.

Music Therapy

While art therapy might speak through colours and shapes, music therapy communicates through notes and rhythms. Trained music therapists use music-based interventions, from songwriting to instrumental improvisation, to address emotional, cognitive, and social needs. It’s not just about passively listening; it’s an active engagement where individuals might create music, express themselves through instruments, or even use music as a backdrop for meditation and reflection.

Tips:

  • Compile a playlist of music that reflects different emotions you’ve felt throughout the week and discuss it during your session.
  • Use percussion instruments like drums to express feelings of frustration or excitement.
  • Experiment with creating simple melodies on a keyboard or guitar to explore emotional expression.

Horticultural Therapy

This therapeutic practice engages individuals in gardening activities, which has been shown to enhance mood, encourage relaxation, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. The rhythmic nature of gardening tasks—sowing seeds, weeding, pruning—can act as a form of mindfulness, grounding participants in the present moment and providing a respite from the hustle of daily life. It also fosters a nurturing instinct and a connection to the cycle of life, promoting a sense of responsibility and care. The tangible results of one’s efforts—seeing a plant bloom or harvesting vegetables—can boost self-esteem and instill a feeling of accomplishment. For those with physical limitations, adaptive gardening techniques can improve motor skills, functional ability, and even pain management.

At Cedar Cottage Meander  in Tasmania, guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in the restorative embrace of horticultural therapy. The ‘Veg Mahal’ invites you to step into a living canvas of organic gardens, where you can pluck vegetables and herbs, infusing your stay with the flavour and fulfilment of earth-to-table living.

Tips:

  • Plant a ‘therapy garden’ with a variety of textures and scents, like lavender for relaxation and rosemary for focus.
  • Keep a gardening journal to note how your feelings change as your plants grow and flourish.
  • Practice mindfulness while gardening by paying attention to the sensations of the soil in your hands and the sounds of nature.

Dance/Movement Therapy

If art therapy encourages expression through creation, dance/movement therapy believes in expressing through motion. Rooted in the idea that body and mind are interconnected, this modality uses movement to promote emotional, cognitive, and physical healing. Participants are encouraged to move, dance, and express, helping them release pent-up emotions, embody positive affirmations, and even process traumatic memories.

Tips:

  • Begin each session with a ‘body scan’ dance, moving each part of your body in isolation to identify areas of tension or discomfort.
  • Use improvisational dance to ‘act out’ different scenarios or emotions you’ve encountered during your day.
  • Incorporate elements of yoga or tai chi to combine structured movements with the expressive aspects of dance.

As the world becomes increasingly fast-paced, the emphasis on slowing down and introspecting becomes paramount. Creative therapies, such as those highlighted above, offer not just an escape but a transformative experience. Whether you’re sketching your feelings on paper or dancing them out, there’s a therapeutic art form waiting to help you navigate the complexities of life.

Further Reading

The beauty of therapy is that there’s always more to discover, more to understand. If these creative therapies have sparked your curiosity, there’s a wealth of knowledge waiting in the pages of books. We’ve handpicked a collection of reads that will enrich your journey into the healing world of the arts. Dive in, and let these books be your companions as you explore the depths of therapeutic creativity.

Essential Art Therapy Exercises
Effective Techniques to Manage Anxiety, Depression, and Ptsd
By: Leah Guzman

Treating Somatic and Psychic Distress
By: Suzi Tortora, Miri Keren

Including Horses in Human Healthcare
By: Leif Hallberg

Connecting People and Plants in Health Care, Human Services, and Therapeutic Programs
By: Rebecca L. Haller, Christine L. Capra

Krista Eppelstun

Life Unhurried co-founder, Krista Eppelstun, is a travel photographer and videographer, usually on the road creating content for the likes of Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Australia, Brisbane Airport and more. But her favourite place to be is at home, coffee in hand after a morning surf.

Get the first chapter of our
book FREE!

If you’re feeling the pull to slow down, immerse in nature, and escape to a truly beautiful space, you NEED this book!

Where should we send your free chapter?