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Art Therapy

Mariah W

I challenge myself with my reflective art making to connect with the challenging emotions, experiences, and needs of my clients. Many who experience delusions or hallucinations do not receive the empathy they crave because others can not relate to their experience. In the words of many who have experienced schizophrenia – words fail to describe the compounding effects of living in a world where their senses are enhanced to the point of input overload, which is further compounded by the hallucinations and delusions that lead people to label these individuals as “crazy” or “scary,” leading to avoidant or devalidating responses to attempts at eliciting social support for their challenges. This creates a breeding ground for social stigmas and resulting isolation from social support systems.

My goal in creating my artwork is to foster empathy in myself and in others for this population by accessing intense emotions and translating them into visual form. I created a large body of artwork with varied textures and media to represent the wide breadth of experiences my clients have and the need to make space for this population to be witnessed. These individuals need to be seen, heard, and treated with compassion. In making space within myself and my art to immerse myself in an alter reality that my clients live in I am working towards cultivating social justice through visual expression of what words fail to communicate.

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