From equine to dance, drama to art, there is a therapy for every angst. Unfortunately talk therapy is by far the most common, though it has never worked that well for me. This kind of therapy often makes me feel stuck, frustrated and ready to try "Fight Club therapy" (is that a thing?). If talk therapy has left you feeling as articulate as an end-table, perhaps you would like to try my current favorite modality, “bar art therapy” (BAT).
BAT is a hybrid model which employs techniques from both bar culture and art therapy. I have used this form of therapy to effectively treat loneliness, creative blocks and boring small talk. I have seen it create the feelings of oneness and social connection that are harder and harder to find in our screen based world. Plus, BAT is still probably cheaper than talk therapy, even if you buy a round of drinks because you're feeling the oneness of all creation.
Bar Art therapy uses the creative process combined with alcohol to promote self-awareness and expression, emotional break-throughs, and social connection. Please don't tell people any of this before they get started, as it will cause them to feel pressured to create something significant and meaningful. It's best just to tell them it's fun.
There is no wrong way to do BAT: you can't win or lose or do better or worse.
Actually there is one wrong way to do BAT and that is criticizing or making too big a deal about how great someone else's piece is. It's best to encourage the process and the participation and to be genuinely interested in understanding the motivation behind the results. Going on and on about how great someone's contribution is might make others feel bad about their creation and make the complimented person feel pressured to perform and nobody wants that.
This is the session I did last last Sunday afternoon at Zeitgeist.
Materials: Two pitchers of beer, paper, colored pencils, friends and friendly strangers
Process: invite people to play a fun, non-competitive drawing game. If they say no invite them to watch and play next time. Pass out paper to the people who want to play. Tell them to trace their hands (as if they were making Thanksgiving hand turkeys). Then have them pick 5 different colored pencils. Tell them that each color represents something in their life, could be a person, place, thing, concept or something else. Have them make a key with each color representing one of the things. Then tell them to color in or decorate their hand with their chosen colors.
Let everyone take as much time as they need. If you get bored waiting, feel free to drink more beer. When everyone is done have them pass their hand to the person on their left or right who will interpret the drawing for the group. This part is especially fun and enlightening if the people don't know each other at all, but can also yield interesting results for existing friends. Articulating what's important to you in a playful way can lead to some surprising and interesting results. You'll see.
Have fun and let me know what forms of BAT you have tried.