K.L. “My thoughts about Arty-Folks”

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I have been a member of Making Way group for 2 months now and the process of creating in this most advanced group is very different. The way these sessions are structured ensures you pay dedicated, focused, constructive attention to your worries (and have the confidence to do so) and also provides respite from them, in the right balance.

Given deep seated complex feelings that are hard to voice, a tangible form that I can experience outside of my body; a form of release. This has shown me that it is possible to view and observe these feelings without the disabling grip of negative physical sensation and thought. Over time they have become clearer and easier to face, communicate and understand.

K.L. ‘Anger’, markers and colour pencils

The variety of projects and materials and the method and nature in which they are used, has reinforced the message and mindset that there is more than one approach or solution to tackling your situation. It has helped me break free from stuck thought patterns and see from new perspectives. Easing the fear of trying something new has built confidence, encouraging me out of comfort zones.

Arty-Folks has given me the determination and motivation to move myself forward, by providing great insight and knowledge on the subject of mental health. Each week has focused on a different aspect. This in hand with the accompanying art exercise then helps you to feel more comfortable in holding the reins, steering on your own personal journey; making choices, problem solving, gaining control, learning to let go; at a pace that is right for you. You are literally, shaping things for yourself. It’s very rewarding to see your own progress in such a visual way.

The discussion element at the start of each session followed by a ‘creative action’ gave me a sense that I could take real steps to doing something about the way I feel; how I react. Engagement in a practical activity helped free my flow of thought and was incredibly cathartic.

The open discussion of each others work also hits home ‘you are not alone’, brings awareness and understanding of how we each experience things and that whatever your situation you can make a difference and be of great support to someone else. Learning to interpret the work we produced helped me explore my inner self in a non-judgmental way and analyze my own thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It was empowering.

K.L. ‘Creativity – follow your heart’ mixed media

The Workshops provide a supportive, safe, inviting space where you can comfortably and freely open up and share experiences and information with peers, but still maintain privacy. This is a great connection when you feel isolated. Arty-Folks have also been good at providing information on additional local groups/ classes and resources that might help and by introducing activities such as yoga and meditation to the group to try.

Arty-Folks provided me with a toolkit, that I could take with me and apply independently to my everyday. It has proven to me that we can find comfort in ways that are healthy; that in time you can find the resilience within you to lean into overwhelming problems, face them, with the right resources tread the path to overcoming them and find healing.

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