Beauty Heals

Digital collage  created by Nicole

Digital collage
created by Nicole


Hummingbird Dance

Creating an art work
This video was created by video recording myself dancing in a dance studio on my laptop, and then splicing together a variety of ‘takes’ to create a final “motion picture”. In the editing room, using MovieMaker, I played with transitions, speed, timing and perspective. The main themes, for me, were about playfulness and the witness. The process of creating this work followed closely many basic principles of expressive arts therapy, including low-skill/high-sensitivity, following the emergent, de-centering, the witness, increasing range of play, extending the process through intermodal transfers, and harvesting. I feel that this process, particularly exploring visual effects, helped me to see myself from the outside, as I would witness a hummingbird dance. I had a terrible fear of watching myself dance on film, and so playing with the video footage in the editing process allowed me to re-source my sense of aesthetics and playfulness and to breathe into my fears with a renewed sense of life and energy. And so this video is my witness, and it is me witnessing myself. And now you are witnessing it with me.

Many thanks.

photograph by Roy Dunn

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Aug(De)mented Reality




by Hombre McSteez



make your choice…

try all of them at once!



The Practice of the Imagination

David Whyte
“A Good Minute”

60 seconds of wisdom from poet and philosopher David Whyte.

from meme to you


Yes, arts therapy humour!

Check out the website!

Music Therapy in Action

I have to admit that I have fallen out of love with TED Talks of late, as they just began to feel like an intellectual and visual version of slam poetry…A bit pedantic. Well, maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all. This talk by Robert Gupta was very inspiring, and the comments on the TED page are a great read too. This reminds me of how much music means to me, and how much I see that it means to others. I have seen music change lives, and indeed, music has changed and chronicled the tides of history. The arts reach us all. And they can unite us, as Robert Gupta said. We can all speak the common language of the creative expression of emotions. We can be united by awe and wonder.

“Music is medicine. Music changes us…Music is sanity.”-R.Gupta

Thanks for the music, Robert.

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“Emptied Gestures” by Heather Hansen

Have you ever heard of Heather Hansen?
Click on the link below to take a look at this short video of her art making process for a breathtaking introduction:

Heather Hansen Film

The following article about Heather written by Joe White was sent to me by a colleague, and I am literally tingling with inspiration and a desire to try this for myself. The closest I have come to a process like this is hanging a giant peice of paper on a wall and using both arms to draw to the full extent of my reach, drawing out my feelings with oil pastels. However, taking such a large canvas to the ground and literally hugging the artwork and lying on it and moving on it with one’s whole body?? Stunning! Talk about embodied art-making. I love the physicality and kinetic qualiteis of her artwork, the symetry, the intention behind it, the concept of ‘emptying gestures’, and the interdisciplinary aspects of the work. I am also really appreciating the gorgeous photographs by Bryan Tarnowski.  ( that document the processes and performance.

Check out Heather’s website too, at:

“Heather Hansen is a New Orleans-based artist who really puts herself into her work. In her project, “Emptied Gestures,” she creates something like you’ve never seen before.

She begins by taking a mysterious stance on a huge, blank piece of paper.

char2j Source: Spencer Hansen Source: David Seelig

Heather is a dancer, painter, and sculptor. She has performed all of her talents around the world and she doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Thank you for viewing and I hope you enjoyed!

Share the beauty of Heather’s work with others by clicking below. Check out her website here.”

Original article via: via this link:


8 Subconscious Mistakes Our Brains Make Every Day–And How To Avoid Them

8 Subconscious Mistakes Our Brains Make Every Day–And How To Avoid Them

8 Subconscious Mistakes Our Brains Make Every Day–And How To Avoid Them
by Belle Beth Cooper

Read it! It’s always good to be reminded of the limitations of the human experience, and in so doing so, learn to explore the borders of the landscape of perception.

The Power of Empathy

Short video all about empathy, animating the words and wisdom of Brene Brown.

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Psykopaint! Awesome free program for photo-editing and digital painting! 
I just spent three hours playing with this program. Very absorbing, fun and relaxing. Great program options. And on their site, they briefly  talk about art therapy and potential “side effects” of this program: 
“Funky Side Effects-
Used in Art Therapy to:
  • * Relieve stress
  • * Improve focus
  • * Boost self-esteem”

Give it a try!

24 Comics That Capture The Frustration Of Anxiety Disorders

As someone who has experienced anxiety as a near constant companion in life, it is not usually a fun dance to partake in, in the moment. Sometimes when I speak or think about it, however, I can find the humour in it. For example: “I was having coffee with some friends, when all of a sudden I was hit with this giant tsunami of a wave of a realization that I was about to die! But nothing had changed at all except that I started freaking out cuz I felt like I was literally going to die. I wasn’t dying, obviously. Heh. My brain is so weird.” Funny, along those lines. Tragi-comic.

I found the following article by Lily Hiott-Millis via to have selected excellent examples of how comics/cartoons/graphic novels… or any instance of images and words… to be a very powerful way to dialogue and communicate about intense internal experiences such as anxiety, and an excellent way to educate and illuminate mental health problems like panic attacks.
As both an art therapist and someone who has experienced panic attacks and anxiety, I was very touched and tickled by the comics in this article, and by the artists who created them. The experience of a panic attack or of chronic anxiety often feel beyond words  in the moment, in terms of their intensity and the physicality of those experiences. They are so overwhelming it becomes difficult to return to a verbal or logical way of thinking during a high anxiety moment.  However, it is often by finding my internal voice, and bringing full awareness to the experience of anxiety or panic – by narrating to myself what is happening, basically- that I can regain my sense of reality. It helps be to become aware of being in my body, and of my immediate environment, and not in the imaginary fear-based place that set off my alarm bells. Once I can relocate myself as being in a safe place, I can remind myself that the physiological experience in my body is not accurately reflecting the reality of situation I am in. Being five minutes late to dinner is no real reason to have my fight or flight response kick in… So if I can call a false alarm early enough, and try to help my parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, and take a step back while taking a step forward, I can talk myself through it… But it’s still a scary experience, no matter how many times it happens. That’s why it’s such a relief to laugh at these comics, and to know that I am not alone in this. That lots of other people have felt the same intense and frightening feelings that I have.

It is pretty fascinating to me that the medium of comics can so aptly can capture the lived experience of anxiety. What is it about the combo of words and images that is so powerful for communicating emotions? Perhaps it brings both sides of the brain together, or allows a more complex communication to occur, or juxtaposes emotions with thoughts, or represents both the physicality of the lived bodily experience through images, and the narrative of thoughts in the mind existing simultaneously… Don’t know. I wonder if the process of creating these comics helped to ease the anxiety to the artists who created them? Perhaps they helped to bring awareness, humour, and a more objective or observers’ perspective to the experience of anxiety… We would have to ask them. Anyways, I have chosen my personal favourites from the list they selected and attached them here, but check out the article for yourself, and choose your own personal favourites!

“24 Comics That Capture The Frustration Of Anxiety Disorders:
For those who have dealt, are dealing, or simply want to learn more.

1. The way our restless minds consume us.

The way our restless minds consume us.

Art by Spencer of

2. The unique experience of having a panic attack.

The unique experience of having a panic attack.

Art by Rachel Poulson.

5. Our weird ways of coping.

Our weird ways of coping.

Art by Beth Evans.

6. The way anxiety becomes a constant companion.

The way anxiety becomes a constant companion.

Art by Claire Jarvis.

7. The difficulty of communicating our anxiety to others.

The difficulty of communicating our anxiety to others.

Art by

13. The fear.

The fear.

Art by L.B.

15. The unfortunate fact that anxiety can strike at any given second.

The unfortunate fact that anxiety can strike at any given second.

Art by Cassian.

20. How anxiety manifests itself physically.

How anxiety manifests itself physically.

Art by Nervous Comics.

21. The way anxiety can overshadow the positive aspects of our lives.

But there’s also the comfort in knowing we’re not alone.

24 Comics That Capture The Frustration Of Anxiety Disorders
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