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30 Nov 2018, by Robert Johnson

Recovery through art therapy

Art is one of the best ways people get to express themselves, especially when they can’t put into words what they feel or are going through. And for people who are going through depression or experiencing mental health issues, not being able to have an outlet for their emotions can be counter-productive in their road to healing and recovery.

Art is a personal experience 

It isn’t always about getting a message across, too. It is often a personal experience of the artists in discovering themselves even more, refocusing their attention and understanding their feelings that help them feel better, reduce stress levels, gain self-esteem, and manage how they would behave. Such benefits have been observed in different cases of mental health care, some have even more success in achieving progress through art than conventional methods of therapy.

Art therapy come in different forms—there’s colouring, painting, collage, drawing, sculpting and woodworking. There are institutions that offer guided art therapy too, while for other people, doing it on their own is more natural and helpful than attending guided therapy sessions.

Turning woodwork into a form of therapy

This is exactly the case for Rolando Corral, a US Army veteran who have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after he was medically discharged from the military. He tried undergoing VA counselling and other types of conventional therapy, but his nightmares and guilt persisted, along with other symptoms of his PTSD. It was only when he learned about woodworking and created pieces for his family and other people that he got to feel better, opened himself to other people, and found a passion that would define him.

He liked how his creations have made people smile, and he enjoyed expressing himself by building stuff using other people’s trash. He even found it enjoyable to take on a creative challenge of using the US flag, a symbol known to all, for his art medium and self-expression. Such inspiration blossomed into a much more meaningful business, with Rolando starting the IGY (I’ve Got Your) Wood Creations that inspires military veterans through wooden flags made from reclaimed wood.

Finding a sense of purpose through art

Rolando Corral found the most effective therapy through his art and woodworking. He even recommends it for people who feel like they have lost all sense of purpose in their lives. He found his new purpose in woodworking, and you can too, through woodworking or any other form of art therapy. Rolando is just among many other people who use woodworking and art as their own form of therapy. Discover their stories too to find more inspiration, starting from this Interview With People Using Woodworking as PTSD/CPTSD Therapy.


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