Whether you like to draw, paint or use art material in some manner as a hobby or a way of relaxing, a local Reston business offers an approach where these tools can also improve your health and well-being. Even if you are not “creative” or “artistic” by nature, you can also enjoy the benefits of Art Therapy. Not a new concept, Art Therapy has been used for over 80 years in both hospitals and in Veterans Services, with more private practices over the past 20 years becoming trained as therapy professionals. However access to these services can be limited in rural areas.
The general concept of Art Therapy is to work with the entire person, both cognitively and physically. With more recognition to mental health issues today along with general physical ailments, this holistic approach provides those to better express their feelings through both verbal and non-verbal treatment using art, movement and play. It has proven to be helpful in reducing anxiety, anger, sadness, trauma, and frustration as well as any significant changes in a person’s daily life. Being able to step back from the emotional charge of a situation helps to observe, instead of being in the issue directly. It also allows for contemplation in a non-shaming way and this leads to ways of resolving the issue in many cases. Sessions also offer an excellent way to explore the self, work on emotional regulation and improve your health.
Joanna Watt has operated Pipestone Art Therapy in Reston since November 2017 in the R.E.S. Centre, and provides services throughout rural Manitoba. Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana, she obtained her BA, with a double major in Studio Art and Communications. She also recently received awards for her business at the Southwest Business and Entrepreneur Expo in Virden. Watt moved to Reston in 2012 with her husband James who was locally born and raised. “I began this journey because as an artist, I found art to be an excellent way to express emotions and work through problems,” said Watt, “When we moved to Canada, I found a position with Prairie Mountain Health as a mental health proctor and have found helping others to be very fulfilling. Wanting to go deeper into the science of psychology, I found the Art Therapy program in Winnipeg, which allowed me to study via distance and participate in on-campus learning during weekends and summers.”
Realizing how hard it can be for people to express their feelings or deal with trauma, she finds creativity is a powerful tool to help find our core identity. Joanna’s Open Studio gives participants a place to come together in a community setting and simply be creative. As an Art Therapist, she works third hand, assisting in the creation and execution of artistic expression. “It was a perfect fit with my art background and my love for psychology.” Sessions are designed to the needs and goals of either an individual or in a group, from young to old.