The Aesthetics of Self-Care

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The Aesthetics of Self-Care focuses on an individual’s inherent capacity to create, to accompany others, and to shape lives. This program is highly experiential and activity-based, intending to provide a creative space for participants to explore arts-based psychosocial approaches that can be applied to various helping professions, as well as to a personal self-care practice.

The program can be co-designed to a certain degree with a client to suit their own objectives, while retaining the following foundational objectives of the program:

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  • To provide a safe and contained space for self-exploration and self-expression through the expressive art therapies
  • To develop ways for participants to take care of themselves in order to fulfill their maximum capacity to serve in their field of work
  • To offer experiences for participants to reconnect and rediscover their inherent capacity to create, self-heal, and shape their lives and the world

 


 

Why self-care?

Burnout, depression, and anxiety are leading afflictions to human life. In the age of rapidly increasing rate of innovation, transactions, and productivity, it is ever more important to begin paying attention to self-care.

As people who contribute to society, who help and serve others in one way or another, we have to acknowledge what our limitations are and honor ourselves through the practice of self-care. That is the space where we can then begin to find resilience, creativity, and strength to thrive.

 

What do we mean by expressive arts therapy?

EXA as a therapeutic approach offers a safe and non-intrusive space to express and process thoughts, feelings, and life events. As a clinical approach, EXA is blended with counselling as a medium of communication in a therapeutic relationship between therapist and client. This intervention can address a range of behavioral, emotional, and other clinical issues.

The expressive arts (EXA) approach emphasises the value and beauty of the human soul, and its ability to transform, shape the world, and rise above conflict through its inherent creative abilities and inner wisdom. EXA engages all artistic modalities including visual art, music, dance, movement, drama, and poetry. While other fields such as music, art, or dance therapy are specialized, EXA integrates the use of all art forms.


 

Applying the program to different contexts

For the helping professional:

  • Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 18.00.20.pngTo recognize and acknowledge limits in a healthy perspective
  • To create healthy boundaries that can help filter the experience of vicarious stress
  • To understand and be attuned to one’s inner thoughts and feelings in order to be more fully present with their duties as a helping professional

For the professional who manages people and dynamics:

  • To understand oneself as an individual, and in turn understand others as individuals
  • To develop one’s inner work life through creative self-care practices and expression
  • To cultivate a feeling of empathy and understanding, and promote this as a culture to their workplaces

For the creative professional who needs to manage tension between personal expression and highly standardized outcomes:

  • To understand oneself as an individual, and in turn understand others as individuals
  • To develop one’s creative capacity and skill by deepening self-expression through self-exploration
  • To cultivate self-compassion that allows for more resilience in creativity and healthy detachment from creative work that can be fast-paced and stressful

More contexts can be explored to address themes such as self-care, compassion fatigue and stress, self-expression.