The interface of art and psychology, where healing begins

Abstract.....Its time to examine the psychology behind the art. What drives us to art making and why do we create it in the first place? Is it insanity of our own minds, the pain we are struggling with everyday that pushes us to hold the painting brush or a pen? What comes along this path of artistry? Can this become the pathway to healing?




Art has come into existence for survival reasons. Art takes diverse forms like painting, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, prose. Each one becomes a journey of exploration as through art, we explore ourselves, our own head, mind, heart and soul. We play with a plethora of feelings, those we never thought existed. Each form of art acts like a stimulus.

Through art, we make a sense of what we go through and in the process, we begin to understand ourselves. When life throws sudden surprises and humans grapple, its then that we find difficulty in feeling the ground beneath our feet. But through the creation of diverse artistic activities, our emotions get transformed into intelligence and depression gets transformed into contentment. Its then, that the art becomes a pathway to explore in-depth psychology. We navigate the deeper terrains of mind through the painting brush, the pen, the verses, the rhythm, the plot, the weaving of it all. As we make the art, we make ourselves. From this perspective, creation of art becomes a whole new creation of ourselves. It reveals the psyche and therefore the art making process becomes revelatory. From the conflicting, confused stage of mind, we gradually proceed towards emotional intelligence, aka psychological intelligence. The entire process is spontaneously transformative. As it transforms us, every step unfolds with surprise.

We are struck with a new light, the light of transformation. What remained previously unseen now becomes visible. From guilt and self- blame, we arise to self -appreciation. We dig the hidden depths, and travel to the unnoticed areas inside us. The unobtrusive areas of our minds now become prominent and pronounced. How do we achieve this in- depth revelation? We refrain from using analogy. Rather we learn to focus on the immediate things that are right here, right now, symbolized by the present moment. Art takes us away from the past and future and leads us gently to the moment we have now. Doing so, we gradually shift our focus, from what happened in the past to what we have in the present. It instructs us to fixate our minds to the reality with awareness, spontaneity and imagination. Through art, we experience an expansion of our imagination as there is an integration that occurs. We integrate the seen and unseen, the happenings of inside and outside of conscious thinking. There is a binding of the two extremities and naturally a coherence is formed between the visible and invisible, the surface and the depth. They are rolled into one integrated whole. Arts become a communication platform between the conscious and illusory, seen and unseen. Through creative activities, we access to the deep-seated wisdom and complexity. In the process, the more we go through the complexity of emotions, their conflicting nature, things get clarified in a new light, the light of art. This is where, artistry begins. We become expressive and through continual expression, intelligence finds its words. As we travel deep inside, we find many conflicting emotions interact with one another. Some are subjective, some are objective, biased and unbiased. But as the brush continues to paint the portrait, the hand continues to hold the pen, the exquisite artistry begins. The conflicting interaction finds a pathway to serenity as there is a communication between the extremities. A correspondence develops. We break through the biased personal thinking and the unbiased takes its place. We escape through art the biased opinions and step into the unbiased.

Art becomes the vehicle for our deepest expressions, our agonizing needs. As we transition from agony to ecstasy through art, a calmness descends upon the minds. The grip of subjectivity loses its hold as we proceed towards objectivity. The veil is lifted, and we see the light of freedom, slowly but steadily. As we are propelled to express ourselves through art, subconsciously, we are allowing ourselves to be cleansed or else we would be confined to the prison walls. We would be prisoners of mind. Art sets us free, allowing ourselves to indulge in freedom again, to taste this life the way it comes. The suffering soul is no longer an enchained prisoner, rather a living, breathing man in the true sense of the word. We etch our pain into art. We paint our brokenness into a painting, a poetry, a story of all times. Wrapped with emotions incomprehensible to us, the process of creativity enlightens us. We rise as enlightened beings. Art becomes the vehicle of alchemy.

Art resolves the conflict between our thinking and feeling. We grow skyward as we get anchored downward, deep inside the soil. As our roots travel further and further deep down, we branch and expand skyward. The development happens, the more we are anchored. As the weight of pain, loss, betrayal is taken off our chests, we feel weightless. This transformation comes through art making. Beautiful is the process, as it brings beauty at every step. Art then becomes a journey of exploration. Whom do we explore in the process? Ourselves. The enigmatic beauty of us, the mystery that fascinates us, the perplexity of psychological build up, gradually begins to break. The fog clears as the brush paints our passions, the pen writes our needs, the poem talks about our afflictions, and the verses narrate our grief. Who do we become in the process? We become the carriers of light. The energy is transformed from challenging situations to creativity. We become resilient, instead of being fixated on our problems. The artistry contributes to the build up of resilience. We become psychologically intelligent people. Artistry induces emotional intelligence deep inside us. While creating the piece of art, we are facing the transpersonal state of consciousness. While engaged in this, we transcend our personal identities and rise from an individual to collective consciousness. In an integrating manner, we arise as transformed beings, the transformation being gently induced in so many ways. Our conflicting emotions completely dissolve in the light. Being immersed in art helps us in reaching normalcy, when we are struggling deep inside.

Art has a plethora of roles. There is a relationship between analytical psychology and art. The ability of art to help in the focusing on the present moment, on the here and now. While we are engaged in the art making, we can identify emotional responses while immersed in its making. We recognize the connections between those responses and awareness. We gain a perception of where we are and who we are, as we are centralized in the art making. With the perceptions, we give a recognition and a validation to our emotions. This very act of recognition becomes central for the journey of healing. Healing is a long walk, but the first step to this walk is the allowance and acceptance of these emotions. The detection of those emotional responses leads to an understanding and recognizance. In the process, a self- perception develops.
While we create art, through the process of art making, we develop a personal integration. Through expressive art, we express our experiences, trauma, loss, betrayal, agony, we develop our own identity and a self- image. What was in haze, now gets the clarity. The investigation of feelings and thoughts brings the emotions into visibility. In addition, conflicting emotions are combined. They are brough together in coherence which cannot be achieved with words alone. So again, we give the recognition of confliction emotions to exist side by side inside us. Therefore, we learn to balance those emotions as we regulate them. Thus, we achieve freedom from emotions that build up negative energy. So, art creation offers a room where we observe and play with responses arising from difficult emotions. We identify, analyze and finally regulate them in a space offered by the art. We are not confined or restricted. Rather we have the freedom to be observant.
In the process, from non-verbal experiences, we become verbose. While holding the brush, we engage in a dialogue with us, within us and through this inner dialoguing, our challenges, struggles find their vocabulary. We learn to become expressive. An artist in pain, develops insight and comprehends himself/herself. This provides a better comprehension of experiences.


Jayita Bhattacharjee....born in Calcutta, India and later on education from University of Houston in Economics, she had chosen her career as a trustee and teacher. 

Her books " The Ecstatic Dance of Life",
" Sacred Sanctuary", " Light of Consciousness", " Dewdrops of Compassion" " The Light of Life",
" Song of Eternity" " The Breath of Heaven" are among the many that she has authored.

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