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Therapy through art

Therapy through art is an age-old concept that many of us do without even thinking about. Art can relax us and alter our moods. So, it’s a pleasure to hear that one of the people we work with has found her way back to practicing art.

We share stories that inspire others to take the initial steps on their path to a more fulfilling life. Today, one of the individuals we support wishes to share her story. Her narrative focuses on the STAR counselling pathway and how it has reignited her passion for drawing. We are grateful to Paula for sharing her story!

Paula’s Story

For several years, I struggled with alcoholism. I now understand that it stemmed from my low self-esteem and the lack of support from my family during my upbringing. Eventually, I received support from the NHS for my alcoholism and have been sober for nearly three years. I had always suffered from depression and anxiety, which I masked with alcohol. However, once I became sober, my NHS worker recommended counselling to aid my mental health.

I was sceptical about the benefits of counselling. But to my surprise, with the care and expertise of my STAR counsellor, I made significant progress. I managed to alleviate a great burden from my shoulders and began the journey of self-discovery. I’d never truly known myself, particularly with alcohol dulling my senses. But I was prepared to learn.

Counselling played a crucial role in supporting my sobriety. I participated in one of the STAR Retreat days, and the concept of Kintsugi resonated with me the most. The idea that something can become more beautiful after overcoming challenges, which I find applicable to myself.

As my counselling sessions were concluding, my counsellor suggested that I join a self-esteem group. After learning more about it, I was eager to participate, knowing that it addressed the core of my general discontent.

The Power of Self-Esteem

During the STAR-Light Steps course, ‘The Power of Self-Esteem,’ I recognised the imbalance in my life that was causing me considerable unhappiness. I was dedicating all my time, energy, and most of my money to helping others. This meant leaving no time or resources for my own interests. I was constantly tired, I was rushing from one task to another, experiencing very little joy.

I learned that this was essentially because I did not value myself enough to decline requests from others. Their desires and happiness took precedence over my own. Once I acknowledged this and acquired the tools to liberate myself from these behaviours, I began to carve out time and space for myself and my own pursuits.

During the course, I realised that I had always harboured a love for drawing, particularly animals, which I had neglected due to a lack of personal time. I possessed some fundamental skills from years past, but I desired to find a course that would truly afford me the opportunity to improve.

Art classes

I joined a course in Winchester, where I create artwork that I am truly proud of and am eager to share with others. This is the reason I am willing to write this article. To inform others that once you develop the skills to bolster your self-esteem, you possess the tools to shape the life you desire, placing yourself at its centre, and experiencing genuine happiness.

I continue to reinforce what I learned on the course by regularly participating in the STAR Community Enrichment Group. A weekly peer-support group for all clients who have completed the course. Sharing some of my drawings with the group has significantly aided me in refining my skills with the tools that support my self-esteem. And it’s reassuring to know that my peers are there for support.

Recently, I’ve felt a desire to give back to others in areas that interest me. I am currently exploring volunteer opportunities at the hospital, which will allow me to continue engaging in activities that I genuinely enjoy.

If any potential clients are reading this, my advice is:

Please fully commit to STAR counselling and groups. Despite any doubts about their effectiveness, they truly work if you put in the effort, and I am living proof of that. I could never have imagined being and feeling the way I do today.

The STAR-Light Steps program is facilitated by a licensed facilitator* and is offered to clients nearing the end of their counselling. It comprises two courses and a weekly ongoing peer support group:

  • The Power of Self-Esteem: Here, you learn practical tools to remain present and make new choices for yourself
  • The STAR Community Enrichment Group: A weekly, ongoing peer support group for all clients who have completed the course
  • The Power of Purpose: This course teaches you to create purpose in your life and to eliminate obstacles and behaviours that hinder you from creating and living the life you envision.

Thank you for sharing your story and your amazing drawings with us Paula.

*The Power of Self-Esteem and The Power of Purposes courses are delivered by a Licensed Facilitator, under licence from The More to Life Foundation UK and are both CPD accredited.

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