While a visual journal is often private experience, remember that if you really want to get the most out of it, an empathetic and reflective witness is important. A helping professional [and of course, an art therapist] can help you deepen narrative work through your images; a visual journaling group that meets regularly to share creative work is another good option. There are online art communities that offer opportunities to connect with others who are exploring visual journaling, too. The 2014 ART THERAPY + HAPPINESS PROJECT, an online art making community facilitated by New Zealand art therapist Janet McLeod and me, will be focused on a variety of visual journaling techniques and creative approaches to self-care and connection to others through art [go to this link for more information].
Visual Journaling as Self-Care in the New Year
Here is a free PDF on journaling as art therapy to get you started in 2014.
It’s the start of a new year and it’s a good time to begin or renew a journaling practice. I believe that creative expression is as much of a wellness practice as good nutrition and exercise; it is not only an effective means of stress reduction, it is also a pleasurable cognitive “workout” that flexes your creative muscles and sensory parts of your brain. I encourage you to get yourself an art journal or even a dollar store composition book and drawing, painting, and/or collage materials and try some of the techniques described in the four previous posts on visual journaling.