Why Art is Therapy & Therapy is Art


I am a scientist by necessity, and not by vocation. I am really by nature an artist… And of this there lies an irrefutable proof, which is that in all countries into which psychoanalysis has penetrated, it has been better understood and applied by writers and artists than by doctors. ~ Sigmund Freud

Elisa is on stage. She has no prior acting experience. In fact, she spends her days as an office manager for a large brokerage firm. With the aid of her therapist, and a group of fellow clients, she is telling her story of surviving a life of trauma and torment as a child.

Bob is a fine artist with an MFA from Yale. His latest show depicts collages of fragmented images he’s photographed and drawn. Brought together these surreal montages offer a dreamscape of Bob’s visual impressions and deepest reveries when asleep. So inspired was he, by the dream analysis in his therapeutic work, that he felt compelled to concretize the workings of his interior world through his chosen artistic mediums.

Every Sat. afternoon Wendy sublimates her healing process through movement and dance. The patterns and rhythms Wendy creates through dance, reflect her intra-psychic landscape, and affords her a sense of direction and possibility.

Through creativity and artistic expression Elisa, Bob and Wendy are receiving profound therapeutic benefits.

So what exactly is this place, that Freud alludes to, where the empirical science of psychology and art, converge?

My personal journey of recovery and as a facilitator of therapy has shown me that psychology and art come together through, what Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, referred to as active imagination.

Active Imagination involves giving expression and animation to fantasies and dreams that lurk within the unconscious mind. Jung wrote that active…



Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW, RSW
The Break Down Wake Up Journal

Therapist, Coach & Author. Complex Trauma & Addiction. Dual citizen. Survivor, World traveler, love art and nature. I appreciate the absurd. Sheritherapist.com