Body Focused Art Therapy

Guided Drawing® is a body work approach that enables us to map body sensations – physical and emotional – in a trauma-informed way. Under my guidance we bring inner tension, patterns of fear and pain held in the body to paper.

Muscle tension in the shoulders will be drawn just as it feels, using both hands. This may be simple up and down strokes applied with lots of pressure. Nausea in the stomach may emerge as a knotted mess of wound up whirls. Stabbing pain may come through as externalised stabbing the paper with crayons. To focus, track and express such body sensation can already bring relief. More importantly though, at this point almost everyone begins to notice what they really want or need to find relief. This is what guides the drawing.

We explore with our hands, crayons and finger paints the movements and shapes which ease those physiological symptoms and release embedded emotions. These often are universal shapes such as a line, circle or square that allow us to draw a line under an experience or re-affirm our boundaries in life. While beautifully simple – we won’t be creating any art here – we are trusting the inner knowing, we allow the body to do the talking and find body based solutions from within.

Guided Drawing is trauma informed body therapy.

This embodied art therapy approach is informed by neurobiological insights into human stress responses.  Almost all new science around neurobiology and complex developmental trauma promote therapies that have a body focus, are bilateral and movement based, and allow sensory integration. And yet there is scarcity of therapies that can actually facilitate such an approach. Guided Drawing does.

My training in Compassionate Inquiry and my bodywork in support of women’s recovery from domestic violence in Aoibhneas taught me invaluable lessons of how trauma is held in the body, in muscles, in connective tissue, and in behavioural patterns.

Guided Drawing has its focus firmly on the body, on the inner collage of physical and emotional body sensations, patterns and behaviours. Through tracing these implicit body sensation with crayons on paper, it is possible to address physical discomforts, emotional distress, and pain – and then transform them. Guided Drawing is a form of bodywork allowing you to find an instant connection between your experience of physical or emotional discomfort and what your body needs to transform it.

… through creating new experiences, we can help the brain recalibrate itself towards responding adequately to the current reality, interrupting destructive habits and negative belief systems from the past. Such a process allows clients to rewrite their biography towards a more authentic, alive sense of self.”

Cornelia Elbrecht