Why image works

Art and image have been used from the beginning of time for communication purposes. Imagery is the gateway between the inner and outer world. It is a universal language that connects cross-culturally and is a bridge between the physical and the deepest mysteries of the unconsciousness. Imagery serves to symbolize, depict, and say what may be difficult to say in words. It is clearly seen that there are profound and deep-healing changes experienced in the lives of those using image as a tool for healing. Art therapy is a good example of how image is used for healing. Images act as a doorway for spontaneous communication, an instrument for heightened awareness, inner healing, and a pathway to personal transformation. The images become the “vehicle” that takes one into silent places that are often elusive.

Image As a Symbol

For a greater understanding of the use of image, we define image as a “symbol.” The term symbol incorporates image in any form, be it a mental image, or an image that is drawn, painted, photographed or otherwise created. Symbols are a gateway between the inner and outer world, a universal language that connects cross-culturally, a bridge between the physical and the mystery of the unconsciousness. Symbols are the “visual vehicles” that take us into silent places. Symbols are images that access the unknown and act as a doorway to inner discovery and transformation. There are universal meanings to symbols and yet each person’s response to image/symbol is individual and unique. Being open to allowing an image/symbol to express can lead to deeper understanding and a greater since of inner control. At imagePathways use of symbol is the “place where healing begins.”

Power of Using Image

We know that art making and image making have always been used by man to symbolize, explore, and say what could not be said in words. It is evident as seen on the ancient walls in the form of primitive cave paintings. Art making documents our history, even before the written word, and allows us the sacred privilege of a glimpse into the past. Creative process, through the use of image, reflects our existence. Art making raises life’s deepest questions. It brings answers to anyone who seeks to understand one’s own thoughts, feelings and actions and connects us with knowing who we are. As humans we verbally communicate, and give words (language) to the random images that surround us. The process of using image to express is so powerful that when image is evoked, feelings connected to the image can begin to surface, which provides a stream of visual/emotional association. This connection gives us something concrete to work with as we move toward greater understanding and eventual healing.

Creative process with image

As we look at art-making as a process for healing and the importance of imagery in art, it is necessary to define creative art process. Creative art process for the purpose of healing is very different than using art-making techniques for “beauty’s sake.” In this definition creative art process is used for the sake of awareness, self-discovery and emotional wholeness. “It’s not about the pretty, it’s about the process.” It is about the journey…rather than the outcome. It’s about what happens at a deep emotional level while “in” process. It is about image being brought to form in a variety of media (drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, etc.) and in such a way that one is opened to inner spaces that lie within the depths of the psyche…spaces filled with insights that have been buried in the archives of the mind.