Thursday, June 30, 2022

How Does Art Therapy Help Those Dealing with Cancer?

It's been a special privilege to work with cancer patients with Kits to Heart during the art therapy wellness groups. I have already heard a number of testimonials how art therapy has met their needs in a way no other treatment or group they have experienced has thus far.  Here is an article that highlights why art therapy helps people dealing with cancer.

Why Art Therapy Can Help 

When Going Through Cancer

At War On Cancer we are all too familiar with the impact going through cancer can have on the mental health of those who have been diagnosed and their loved ones. Cancer is something that’s treated physically and therefore, the psychological impact often gets forgotten.

What else can be done to help those experiencing cancer look after their mental health during a time of great change and uncertainty? For this article we’ve teamed up with The Art Therapy Project, a US based, nonprofit, mental health organisation that provides art therapy to adults and young people affected by trauma to share the ways in which art therapy can help. 

What is art therapy? 

According to the American Art Therapy Association, Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches lives through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. 

Professional art therapists facilitate art therapy, supporting personal and relation treatment goals. It’s often used to improve a whole range of things including self-esteem, self-awareness, cognitive and sensory-motor function and emotional resilience. It’s also used to build social skills, promote insight, resolve distress and help people cope with change. 

Art therapists are master-level clinicians who work with people of all ages across a broad spectrum of practice. Guided by ethical standards and scope of practice, their education and supervised training prepares them for culturally proficient work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. Honouring individuals’ values and beliefs, art therapists work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems, as well as individuals seeking emotional, creative, and spiritual growth. 

Mental Health Benefits

Creating art alone, in any way you enjoy, is therapeutic in and of itself. Spending time creating helps to reduce stress, increase positive emotions and can be an outlet for anything we have been building up inside. Art Therapy simply takes this and pairs it with a trained clinician who can help you delve deeper and guide you in using the art to explore your feelings, things you have previously found or are finding difficult and work out your current strengths and needs.

We don’t give ourselves enough time or space to truly sit with and explore how we’re feeling, which often has a negative effect on our mental health. Art therapy gives people a chance to be their authentic, emotional selves, with the support required to explore and understand themselves. 

Going through having cancer – from diagnosis to treatment to its impact on life and relationships – can be very hard on people mentally. Feeling the need to stay strong, while facing a number of challenges, is incredibly draining and it can become difficult to acknowledge how we’re actually feeling – the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Art therapy gives people a safe space to process all the different emotions that come with going through cancer, without the need to ‘put on a brave face’. It can be an incredible support tool for anyone with and after cancer. 

But, do I need to know how to paint or draw?

Absolutely not! Art therapy is for anyone, no matter your skill set! Art Therapy is about the creative process and using it to get clear on your emotions, not about producing the next Louvre-worthy masterpiece.

To get the benefits of art therapy, all you really need is an open mind to allow yourself to try new things and accept the outcome artistically. It’s also important to remember that Art Therapists are trained clinicians and are skilled in using all different types of media, so they will work with you to find the right fit. 

Getting started

You can find accredited art therapists in the US here and in the UK here

“The goal of art therapy is to safely approach a traumatic event or experience and express it by putting it into imagery or language. This puts the trauma into a context and articulates its boundaries. Then, there is more of a sense of a continuous, consistent self and an instance of trauma, not the other way around.” – Val Koutmina, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT – The Art Therapy Project Art Therapist

Learn more about The Art Therapy Project via their website.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Relaxation Albums are Best-Sellers for Guided Imagery and Insomnia

I was very excited to discover that on Bandcamp, "Lavender Dreams" is a "Best-Selling Album" for Guided Imagery and "Lavender Destinations" is one of the "All-Time Best-Selling albums" for Insomnia! I am honored!

Art Helps Ukrainian Artists Express Themselves During War

Art is something that can express things beyond words and process traumatic experiences like war.  Ukrainian artists share some of their artwork made while their country is under attack to express themselves through creativity.

Drawing is My Only Language: Ukrainian Artists Portraying the War

Ira Gryshchenko

March, 12 2022

While the war is still raging, there is hardly any time for reflection. But for many artists, creativity became their only way to speak out, even under these gruesome circumstances. Bird in Flight reached out to Ukrainian artists, asking them to show their works about war and tell their stories.

Kinder Album, artist

There will be a painting that shows our victory, for sure.

Drawing is my way to live through this reality together with all my people. It helps me to control my anxiety and panic, keeps me focused and channels my thoughts in a constructive direction. It’s my contribution to our common fight.

As for now, I have illustrated my experience of sitting in a shelter with young kids, elderly people, and pets. I have painted women, who stop armored vehicles with their bare hands, crowds of refugees on railway stations, burning houses — all the things that break our hearts. I’m planning to carry on with this series, and I’m sure that there will be a painting that shows our victory.

Vlada Ralko, artist

Drawing is not a weapon for me, it’s what keeps me alive.

I felt numb in the first week of war. I still have no words, except for a plea to close our sky and help us with weapons’ supplies. The whole world clearly sees what’s happening now. They see it in every detail. How many more murdered kids and mass graves in Mariupol do they need? How many Ukrainian cities have to be ruined for the world to join this unprecedented violence against our country with real actions, not just words?

Drawing is my only language now. This is how I’m saying what I want to say. It’s not my weapon, it’s what keeps me alive.

Anatolii Belov, artist

I have neither time, nor materials to create “works”. All I have is my sketchbook.

These sketches show my immediate reaction to the war. I draw them in my sketchbook, which I carry around and use it to put in my thoughts and to-do lists. I took this sketchbook with me, alongside other first-necessity things, when I fled Kyiv to a safer place. It contains all important addresses and phone numbers, so it’s a big help.

Now I have neither time, nor materials to create “works”. All I have is my sketchbook. One of the drafts is dedicated to Putin and all Russian people. I put an equation mark between them. I think that the war in Ukraine should be blamed not only on Putin, but on all the Russians, who let him rule their country. “It’s not Russia, it’s Putin who did it”. That was Kateryna Dyogot’s, a well-known Russian critic and art manager, comment on the shelling of the Holocaust Memorial Babyn Yar. Such a reaction of detachment and not understanding their own responsibility for the war in Ukraine says a lot. And I made a sketch of this episode, which shows Putin’s head growing bigger and bigger with rage and wickedness.

The second drawing is my curse for a Russian monster-soldier and his whole family. He stormed into a free country that didn’t call for him. My fury is encapsulated in this sketch. I don’t like to be furious, but that’s what I’m feeling right now and I have every right to feel this way.

Danylo Movchan, artist

I can’t say anything. I can only draw one watercolor a day. I have no words.

Friday, April 01, 2022

"52-Week Intention Journal" Brings Improvement Through Intentional Living

I got the hard copy of my friend Lauren Blanchard Zalewski's new book "52-Week Intention Journal" in the mail!  I was thrilled to write an endorsement for this wonderful book and was touched that she quoted me in one of her weekly intentions for Creativity.  Thank you so much!

This is a wonderful journal!  Please order your copy here:

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Study Finds Doctors Seeking Mental Health Support During Pandemic

It's encouraging to know that doctors have sought mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Being on the front lines has its own challenges, and it's good that they are taking the time to care for themselves as well.

More Docs Turn to Mental Health Support During COVID

— Sharp uptick in outpatient mental health and substance use visits, Canadian study finds

A close up of a female therapist taking notes with her out of focus male patient in the background

A "substantial increase" in physicians in Canada sought mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study reported.

Looking at nearly 35,000 practicing physicians in Ontario, the overall annual number of outpatient mental health and substance use visits increased by 27% per 1,000 physicians -- from 816.8 pre-pandemic to 1,037.5 during the pandemic -- reported Daniel T. Myran, MD, MPH, of Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and colleagues.

This equated to a 13% increase in the rate of mental health and substance use visits per physician during the pandemic (adjusted incident rate ratio [aIRR] 1.13, 95% CI 1.07-1.19), an increase that appeared driven by those who had no prior mental health or substance use history (aIRR 1.72, 95% CI 1.60-1.85), the group wrote in JAMA Network Open.

Overall, the absolute proportion of physicians with one or more mental health and substance use visits within a year increased from 12.3% before to 13.4% during the pandemic (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.08, 95% CI 1.03-1.14).

Increases in mental health visits seemed to be across the board, and didn't differ by sex/gender, age, or urbanicity, the researchers said. Regarding specific types of physicians, psychiatrists saw the highest rate of annual mental health and substance use visits during the pandemic (3,441.5 per 1,000 physicians), whereas surgeons had the lowest rates (370.9 visits per 1,000 physicians).

The author of an accompanying commentary, however, said that despite this sharp uptick in COVID-related mental health visits for physicians, the findings should actually be "somewhat encouraging," since they show that physicians are actively seeking help, support, and the treatment they need.

"Creating additional avenues or opportunities for health care professionals to obtain mental health services will be paramount, while cognizant of the unique challenge surrounding reticence in seeking care within the profession," wrote Bernard P. Chang, MD, PhD, of Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York.The findings also aren't much of a surprise, since it is known that the pandemic took a heavy toll on the mental health of healthcare workers, Chang added. He also pointed to the benefits of telehealth resources in particular, saying that these discrete and flexible platforms are ideally suited for practicing physicians.

Myran and co-authors agreed, noting that their findings "may also be explained by reduced barriers to access for health care and mental health services among physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic," and that "in response to the pandemic there was a large expansion of virtual care options in Ontario."

"It is possible that physicians with both physical and mental health concerns that predated the pandemic increased their health services use owing to this change (e.g., appointments are easier to schedule and less visible and thus less stigmatized)," the researchers wrote.

The population-based cohort study included 26,266 individual counts of outpatient mental health and substance-use related codes prior to the pandemic, which were compared with 31,936 codes during the first 12 months of the pandemic. This equated to a 22.6% change in codes. The biggest uptick in code type was for adjustment reaction, followed by the cluster code for "anxiety, somatoform, dysthymia, dissociative, or psychosomatic," the researchers reported.

"Future research should focus on longer term outcomes associated with the pandemic and explore associated risk and protective factors for physicians' mental health to better target interventions," the group concluded.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Are you a Creative? Guest Blog from a Creativity Coach and Counselor

Recently, I had the privilege to meet a fellow therapist working in the same town where I have private practice. She has a unique approach and helps creative people with therapy and coaching that is tailored for *them.*  Cindy has been kind enough to write a guest post for "Adventures in Art Therapy" so you know there are those out there who can relate with you and help as a fellow creative.

A Letter to Creative People

Dear Artist Drawing in the Margins of your Papers,

Dear College Student at your Easel Late at Night in an Empty Studio,

Dear Musician Rehearsing the Same Two Measures and Stumbling for the Thousandth Time,

I see you.

Dear Little Heart Wearing all the Colors to School because they are in your Soul,

Dear Parents Believing in the Little Hearts and Quietly Worrying if Others Will See the Beauty or Try to Tear them Down,

I see you.

Dear High Schooler Feeling Feelings so Big You Might Burst while Trying to Express yourself through Poetry and Feeling Overwhelmed by What Comes out,

I see you.

Dear High Achieving Adults with High Achieving Jobs with the Weight of the World on your Shoulders but Creativity in your Heart,

Dear Adults who Wonder if it is “Too Late” if you are “Enough” and have Spent your Lives Prioritizing the Needs of others before Yourselves,

I see you.

Dear Parents who Struggled for Acceptance as you Fought for Authenticity in the World and now Ache Watching your Children doing the Same,

I see you.

Dear Creative Professionals Struggling to Break the Surface and Tread Water of Financial Sustainability in Shark Infested Waters for the Sake of your Passions,

I see you.

Dear Writer Staring at a Blinking Cursor as Time Ticks by with a Book in your Heart but no Words in your Mind,

Dear Performer Sitting at Another Casting Call Full of Talent Hoping this is Finally the Time you Stand Out,

I see you.

Dear Painter Scrolling through Hundreds of Accomplished Artists Online while your Canvas Sits Empty or Unfinished Beside You,

Dear Adult who is too Burnt Out by Their Day Job to Make Art but that is all you Really Want to be Doing as the Years Continue to Go By,

I see you.

I see and know your struggles. I know that the world is failing you, overwhelming you and leaving you behind in their efforts to help. I know that your experiences and needs are unique and special.

My experiences were like this, too.  I felt the loneliness and helplessness that come with Creativity. But- I believed in the importance of my creativity.  Just like I believe in the importance of yours.  You have the potential to change the future for the better.  Your future.  The future for all of us. 

Your creativity is everything you need. I have dedicated my career to understanding this to be true. To understanding your needs as a Creative Person, and the inner workings of your Creative Personality. I have built a philosophy to support you in your life. I know you can experience ease and success in your life with the creative gifts you were born with.

The application and work of my philosophy is found in Creativity Counseling and Creativity Coaching.  And I developed it just for Creative People.  Like you.

Creativity Counseling is founded upon your natural strengths as a Creative Person. When you understand your strengths, and harness them in healthy and productive ways, you will live a life filled with ease. 

Your natural creative strengths, when they serve you, are so powerful that as surely as when they are aimless they are destructive, when they are focused in healthy and productive ways, are massively life changing.  

In Creativity Counseling, you become intimately acquainted with and empowered by your Creative Personality.  You learn how powerful emotions, drive towards meaning making and authenticity, and more, are important and stabilizing forces.  You learn practical, real-life tools to embrace, not suppress, how you experience the world. You understand that your key to happiness is true authenticity with yourself and the world around you.

Creativity Coaching is the gift creative flow that comes when you embrace your creative identity fully.  Does your soul demand that you write? Make music? Paint? Dance?  Unlock your true potential by claiming yourself fully as a writer, musician, artist, or dancer.

No more “when’s” or “if’s” or other rules- if your soul demands a creative expression- embrace it with a passion! Experience clarity and ease when you give yourself permission to actualize what your creative soul desires of you. 

This permission is your first step to finding the  “North Star” you will use for making daily decisions in your life. Creative flow comes from the purposefulness in knowing where you are going. It allows you to make aligned decisions that serve your greater purpose, and live a life filled with meaning.  Creative flow builds from regular creative practice as you continue to making meaning from your life experiences with your art.  These are some of the most important aspects of Creativity Coaching!

Dear Creative Looking for Help because you are Hurting,

Dear Creative Looking for Help from Someone who Knows how to help you with your Creativity but also accepts your Creativity Might always be a Struggle that No-one Understands,

I see you.

Sometimes your hurt and struggle are your heart and soul showing up for what truly matters to you in your life.  I believe your creativity truly matters, and is your most important healing and stabilizing force. 

I have experienced this to be true in my own life, in my research, in my education, and with hundreds of Creative People I have listened to and worked with. 

I am passionate about the future of the world as only you, Dear Creative, can dream it.

I know you feel deeply. I dare you not to stop.  It is my passion to help and support you. If you believe I can help, I would love to talk to you about what I can offer. 



(c) 2021 Creatively, LLC, Cindy Cisneros, LCPC-S, LPC, Creativity Coach

Cindy Cisneros is a Creativity Coach and Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland.  She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Friday, December 17, 2021

Gratitude Journal for Teen Boys Hits the Market

Congratulations to my friend Lauren Blanchard Zalewski, whose first book released November 30 on the heels of the Thanksgiving holiday when we focus particularly on gratitude  A great gift for your teenage boy or to use with your clients.  Please check it out, especially during this holiday season!

Read more behind the story of Lauren's book here.

From Lauren:

**Have you ordered your copy of my new book "5-Minute Gratitude Journal for Teen Boys" yet?**

Unlike other GRATITUDE journals on the market, this book contains 120 pages of unique topics designed to help today's teen find inspiration, appreciation, and their personal greatness through gratitude.

Gratitude is a powerful tool for teens dealing with school stress, friend drama, and the pressures of social media. Taking time to focus on the good stuff can boost their self-confidence and help them achieve their goals. This gratitude journal provides easy exercises that will help teen boys commit to gratitude and put them in charge of their life and emotions.

With the release date on November 30, each order helps raise the visibility of my book on Amazon to ensure that it gets into the hands of anyone looking for a way to help the teen in their life feel happier and more motivated.

Thanks for your support!!!

To ORDER your copy, go to:

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Teen Mental Health Society Hosts Lacy Mucklow for Art Therapy Workshop

Happy to be presenting an art therapy workshop to the Teen Mental Health Society this weekend!  Thanks to Aayushi Kulsunge for inviting me to contribute a small part to this great organization she founded to reach teens with mental health support! 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Wake Up with Gratitude Podcast Features Lacy Mucklow

Many thanks to Julie Boyer, Gratitude Guru at #WakeUpwithGratitudePodcast for having me on her show!  I am grateful to be your guest, talking about art therapy and more!

Episode #151 – How Does Creating Art Give Us a Way to Deal with Trauma? (Lacy Mucklow)

Have you ever used coloring books for adults? Chances are you might have colored in one of Lacy Mucklow’s books! Lacy is a registered, board certified, and licensed Art Therapist in the Washington, DC area. She’s also the bestselling author of the Color Me Series, including Color Me Grateful. Her books have been translated into more than 15 languages. We talk about what Art Therapy is, how she became an author and why you should never give up on your blog!

Apple podcast:


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Healing Power of Art - Healing Arts Exhibit

It's amazing to see all the artwork submitted for the Healing Arts Exhibit, hosted annually at Walter Reed by the Arts in Health program.

Healing Is An Art, Art is Healing: Exhibit Highlights the Healing Power of Art

Photo By Bernard Little | Service members look at art included in the Healing Arts Exhibit on display throughout... read more

Story by Bernard Little 
 Walter Reed National Military Medical Center 

Healing is an art, and art is healing was the sentiments shared among those who attended the opening ceremony for the 18th Annual Healing Arts Exhibit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Oct. 27. The exhibit showcases artworks by military members, veterans, retirees, family members, WRNMMC staff, volunteers and others, many who received their health care at the medical center. The exhibit will be on display in the pavilion between the America Building and the America Garage at WRNMMC throughout November, Warrior Care Month. 

U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Moira McGuire, chief of the Arts in Health Program at WRNMMC, has been one of the coordinators for the exhibit since it began. “It’s amazing to think we have been able to put on this exhibit for 18 years,” she said. While there’s been some changes, McGuire said what hasn’t changed is the enthusiasm and excitement on the faces of people and what they say as they go through the exhibit. McGuire, also assistant chief of Integrated Health Services at WRNMMC, added it has always been a team effort to put on the exhibit, supported and nurtured by the John P. Murtha Cancer Center at WRNMMC and the arts and health activities at the medical center. 

 The annual exhibit began as part of the medical center’s observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month because most of the artwork was produced by breast cancer patients. The idea for the exhibit came when the hematology/oncology staff discovered the artwork patients were creating while being treated for breast cancer. Over the years, participation in the art show expanded to include the works by other patients, family members, staff and more. 

Brig. Gen. Jack Davis, WRNMMC director, added in addition to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is also National Arts and Humanities Month. “As the flagship of military medicine, we have a duty in leading the country in developing new and innovative resources to meet the challenging needs of our military community. These innovations include the emerging field of art and health.” He added the arts are “an [integral] and necessary component of the hospital environment to promote and maintain wellness.” 

Navy Capt. Carlos Williams, director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, agreed. NICoE, a part of WRNMMC, works to advance the clinical care, diagnosis, research and education of those in the military community with traumatic brain injuries and psychological health conditions, frequently called “the invisible wounds of war.” NICoE’s art therapy program, which has received national attention, started in 2010 and helps beneficiaries heal from the traumatic conditions, as well as express themselves and their emotions through art. “NICoE’s goal is to support people in holistically healing, and the creative arts program helps in accomplishing this mission,” Williams said. 

Louis Celli, an Army retiree, agreed. “We didn’t talk about our feelings during my generation of service. I didn’t understand what art therapy was, probably like the rest of the guys in my squad, platoon, company, and battalion. The evolution of the services to now recognize how important these types of programs are is instrumental in the healing process that goes on in the veterans we served with and interact with every single day, said Celli, who served as director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation with the American Legion. 

WRNMMC Command Master Chief Trey Hauptmann said art has always been a passion of his, “whether it was cooking and making the plates look appealing so my kids would eat, [or painting]. To actually spend time and create an emotion out of something, is what I’ve been always trying to do and what you will see in my art. It’s not one thing that I want you to see. I want you to interpret what you want to see. It’s your perspective that makes art great. It’s your perspective that makes the meaning come alive in your heart, your mind and your soul.” 

Veterans and former patients of WRNMMC affiliated with Uniting Us, a group focused on sharing the empowering quality of art, discussed their works and what inspires it during the exhibit’s opening ceremony. 

“Art has been a real gift to me,” said Dr. Alicia Christy, a retired Army colonel. “Art has allowed me to celebrate the heroes in my life,” she added. Christy’s portraits of “women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars” are part of the Healing Arts Exhibit at WRNMMC. Her artwork has also been used in medical publications, and Colin Powell owned a portrait she did of him. 

Steve Alpert, a professional artist and veteran art mentor, taught art therapy classes at WRNMMC. He said his teaching philosophy is, “Artists make art to learn the truth about themselves. It’s about storytelling and your personal story, but no one has to know it’s your personal story.” 

April Goodwin-Gill, also an Army veteran, agreed. “The art I do has always kept me grounded. Sometimes, suicide is right around the door and I have to talk myself off the ledge. The way I do it is with my art. Thank God for the arts. Right when it seems like the ship is sinking, God will show me another way to be able to express myself, either through my paintings, dolls, stories and plays. I have to be able to express myself.” 

In his presidential proclamation for National Arts and Humanities Month, President Joe Biden stated, “We celebrate the power of the arts and humanities to provide solace, understanding and healing. We recognize the ability of the arts and humanities to amplify important and diverse voices and messages. We reflect on the fact that, as we have struggled with isolation, anxiety, and the loss of loved ones, we have turned to music and dance, literature and poetry, and philosophy and history to bring us together and help us persevere through, and grapple with, our current moment.” Biden added, “From our nation’s earliest days, we have recognized the arts as a foundation of our republic. As George Washington wrote in 1781, ‘The arts and sciences [are] essential to the prosperity of the state and to the ornament and happiness of human life.’ Today, any American, regardless of their background, can create art and turn to it for hope, acceptance and inspiration.” 

For more information about the Arts in Health Program at WRNMMC, contact Capt. Moira McGuire at 301-319-8755.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The Art Therapy Program at NDMU

I'm so happy to be a supervisor for NDMU's graduate art therapy program. My intern Em is a great ambassador for art therapy, and she is a wonderful spokesperson to be featured in the video for their program.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Color Me Books Translated into Multiple Languages

I am still amazed at what has come from the coloring books that I wrote with Angela's illustrations and how global they really became.  From what I know, the books have been translated into numerous languages, including the following:

Color Me Calm:

French, German, Korean, French, Arabic, Norwegian, Chinese (Simplified and Complex characters), Bulgarian, Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish, Spanish, Estonian

Color Me Happy:

Korean, French, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, French

Color Me Stress-Free:

French, Chinese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, German

A couple of days ago, I got two boxes from my publishing company with some editions of these translated books.  It's hard to describe the feeling to see your words translated into multiple languages around the world.  

Please comment on the pictures below if they are in your native language!  I would love to hear from you!






French (Canada and France)



Bulgarian and Russian

Australian English

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Artists are not Athletes

This is something that especially applies to art therapy. We talk about it often in session, especially in groups where people tend to compare their creative output with others in the group. Artistic skill is not needed to benefit from art therapy, and we work a lot on not putting value judgments on what they create - for others or themselves.  People have all kinds of various experiences, talents, exposure, and interest levels in art, and each piece people create is unique and individualized to them.  There is no right or wrong way to create art in an art therapy session, which I do think is harder to internalize in a group setting than an individual setting, though there are plenty of inner critics out there who will fill that role for people in the absence of a group.  The art helps you connect to your own self-expression and creativity, and holds meaning for YOU...that is what we focus on in art therapy.  It can be an attitude helpful for anyone who creates art as well.  It is hard to shift gears from a performance-based society, but it can be done.  Feel free to express yourself!