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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Badrock

How to use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approaches to gain a deeper understanding of our problems.

Art as we know, has a profound impact on our psyche and the way we feel. In less than 5 minutes a day, we can gain a deeper understanding of the root of our problems through some every simple art projects.


Lets start with the basics - What exactly is CBT?

CBT operates on the belief that emotions are symptoms of thoughts. If we can change the way we think, our emotional reactions will change as well. This therapeutic approach involves talking about the activating event, challenging the beliefs around that event, and understanding the consequences of those beliefs. The client will gain an understanding of how inaccurate thinking can distort the lens in how we see and react to the world around us. The client will become empowered to gain control of how to critically assess distressing events without mental filters or ‘mind reading’.



How does art help us in the CBT journey to self discovery and mental health healing?

The use of art in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy allows the client to put them selves at a distance from negative thoughts. Creating images of their negative thoughts replaces verbal directives with images.


As the art is created, the client can make sense of their art, giving them a greater insight and understanding to their problem. The therapist will ask a series of structured list of questions, gently guiding the client to change how they feel / think about the problem.



How can doodling open the doorway to healing?

Doodling are thoughts represented as symbols that reveal the unconscious themes of our problems. They can represent feelings, thought and perceptions in a physical form . Often, we are unaware of what we are drawing when doodling. Whilst doodling, an interesting thing called catharsis occurs. This means that the unconscious mind is represented on the page through the images on the page. Overtime, client’s may reach a state of physiological homeostasis. The images will also give insight to the therapist of deeper levels of distress and by doing so, how to direct the therapist session in the most constructive way for the client.



The spontaneous nature of doodling will naturally reveal themes like love, hate, forgiveness, joy, sadness, death etc. Although it may seem a trivial exercise, the insight a client gains can be multi layered. Together, the client and therapist can work together is connecting the images to any themes or symbols they might see in the images. This opens the door to discussion about what is troubling the client. As the therapist moves through the questions and dialogue opens up around the themes of the images, the client may find more meaning into the pictures that may not have been seen on first inspection.


So there you have it, take 5 minutes to yourself, and have a quiet moment doodling in a sketch book. Make sure to comment below to tell us all about what has been unconsciously revealed to you through doodling.

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