“I had that happen to me, where I already had earned a master’s degree in psychology and I’ve read all of these different writers and different theories,” Davis says. “But this is what hit me as, oh my gosh, this is it, this is what I have to do.”
She saw a hand-sewn doll wearing a tattered dress. Pinned to it was a note from the doll’s creator, who promised to take care of the doll, feed it and make sure it was clothed. The power in the message, which represented an adult having a conversation with their child self, moved Davis to tears. She signed up for classes and earned a second master’s degree.
Art therapy can be beneficial for people of all ages dealing with all sorts of problems. Participants have an intent, or an issue they want to work on; it could be an argument with a relative, a death of a loved one, addiction, trauma or suicidal thoughts. They work with an art therapist to select materials to create a visual representation of the issue. No art skills are required, Davis says, because the focus is on the process.
As a nonprofit, Dallas Art Therapy offers free art therapy sessions for adults a couple of times a month. It partners with The Meadows Texas to help people dealing with addiction and trauma, and is working on a contract with Texas Health Presbyterian to offer art therapy for the elderly. Dallas Art Therapy also has a program for girls in middle school and high school who have ADHD.
“We don’t need to just rely on the language center for expression and processing through things,” Davis says. “It can happen in so many different ways.”