Art-Making and Mental Health

By Jackie Carrera, MSEd, Resident in Counseling in Northern Virginia

Creativity and mental health go hand in hand. I am a visual artist who enjoys painting, working with pottery, and photography. I turned to art-making during a high stress time in my life and it helped me find balance. One of the texts that taught me about art and drawing is Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Andrews.

Some of the key takeaways of the book for me were that drawing can be learned and art-making encourages a different perspective and way of seeing. Art making challenges us to find a time for quiet and to shift our perspective. During these challenging times, art-making in whatever form, can provide an opportunity to shift the focus away from certain stressors. 

Art-Making Process

I have used different media over the years. Doing this allowed me to explore solutions to problems, including a hand injury in my dominant hand. The art-making process and experiences will vary for each individual. For some, there may be worry over starting or completing an artwork. These feelings are understandable.

One of the things that I do as I approach an artwork is to stop and take a step back when a project seems overwhelming. It gives me the opportunity to return to it at a later time. There are many resources available to youth and adults to explore the arts online and there are in-person classes where participants can social distance. We can all explore different creative outlets while spending time in the home or with limited materials. 


About Jackie: 

Jackie is a Resident in Counseling providing counseling services in the Alexandria location. Jackie earned
an M.S.Ed. from Old Dominion University in Mental Health Counseling and has training in art therapy. In addition to her counseling background, Jackie also has a degree in the arts with an MA in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Jackie is a humanistic counselor who provides person-centered counseling in both English and Spanish. She is dedicated to providing a safe space for clients to explore experiences and to work towards positive changes guided by their desired outcomes. Jackie believes that compassion, collaborative dialogue, and trust are important in the therapeutic process. She has experience with cognitive behavioral therapy, strength based counseling, solution-focused counseling, the use of creative arts in counseling, and motivational interviewing. To learn more about Jackie, visit HERE.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.