Special: Download a PDF of a body image outline, similar to what’s used in the videos.
The following videos provide a brief, but insightful look into the positive effects that art therapy can have on people. You can also download the body image outline used in the art therapy activity, created by Soul Pancake. Enjoy!
The Science of Happiness: Art Therapy
Julian’s Art Therapy Sessions
This is a little extra footage from the Science of Happiness Art Therapy video. This is where the host, Julian, participates in the same art therapy activity as the people in the first video.
Video Transcription: The Science of Happiness – Art Therapy
Speaker 1: What is going on? This is so weird.
Pamela: How was that?
Speaker 3: So fun.
Speaker 3: Yeah.
Julian: Art, the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. That is how it’s defined in the dictionary of my Mac book. You probably heard the term art therapy thrown around the floor but today we’re honing in on a new type of art therapy designed exclusively to focus on positive emotions, personal control and a sense of meaning. Now, you can get to download on it here but full disclosure, watching us test it out ourselves is going to be more entertaining. Plus, I have my own art therapist.
Pamela: Hey, how are you doing?
Julian: I’m good. I’m good, how are you?
Pamela: I’m good.
Julian: Great, great. Welcome. Pamela is a registered and board certified art therapist with the American Art Therapy Association. Flexing your artistic muscles? Will it make you happier? Let’s find out. Once again we brought in a selection of subjects. Now, first we gave them the test to measure their current level of happiness.
Speaker 5: Nailed it.
Julian: You’re not done yet. There’s more. Next, we ask them to write out a list of things in their life that made them feel happy or supported. Then we have them assign a color to themselves and each of the things on their list.
Speaker 5: I’m just going to write ladies.
Pamela: That works.
Speaker 5: Yeah.
Julian: I don’t think there’s any misinterpreting that. It felt like the right time to rope them into doing something creative. We traced a life-size outline of their body.
Speaker 5: Do I smell good?
Julian: Fantastic. Told them to fill it in with the different colors depending on where it resonated for them. We told them to put a circle in the center that represented themselves. They hadn’t realized it but we put them in a reflective state of mind and in order to complete the exercise they had to really focus on how each person or thing contributed to their life.
Pamela: What was that like for you?
Speaker 6: I loved it. I love art and I love to pain. I used to paint when I was a little girl with my grandma.
Pamela: Oh you did?
Speaker 6: I just love my grandma a lot and she taught me how to paint.
Pamela: I noticed the first thing you put in there was the purple to represent, is that mom?
Speaker 7: My mom. Yeah, she’s on the shoulder area I guess. My mom actually, I remember when she used to rub my shoulders whenever I’d be sick as a kid.
Pamela: Out of all of this things, what are you most passionate about?
Speaker 8: Of course my family. I have seven children and they are spread all over. There are three in California and I barely get to see them. I’d have to say that my family is my passion.
Pamela: Orange. What is orange?
Speaker 5: Orange is ladies.
Pamela: The ladies.
Speaker 5: Yeah, I’ve always had interesting relationships with women over the course of my life. When I was young I was always the class clown. It was always difficult for me to connect with women because they wanted a serious man in their life but I was always trying to make them laugh. There were always this unattainable presence in my life. I was never able to have a girlfriend when I was a kid, I feel that has always been a hurdle that needs to be dealt with?
Speaker 5: When you look at me you just see “Wow, that man is very emotional and very passionate about a plethora of different things.”
Speaker 9: I see a clear paint representation of my personality.
Pamela: First thing you put on here was your dad.
Speaker 9: My dad has always been the one that’s there.
Speaker 9: My whole life. I’m a daddy’s girl for sure.
Pamela: How’s he’s there for you?
Speaker 9: Oh my gosh, I had to be careful what I say around him. “Oh I broke my pencil today” I have 24 packs of pencils on my doorstep the next day. Every time I’m on the phone with my dad, present day he’s like “Just in case I’m not around tomorrow.” He does stuff like that.
Pamela: Yeah, is that hard sometimes for you when he’s making a joke out of something so big?
Speaker 9: Yes.
Pamela: He just like that.
Speaker 1: The one right in the middle is my mom. What is going on? This is so weird. Yeah, because I think just looking at this she really is my core. She’s the foundation up on which everything else has been built up on. She’s been the example that guides me to even be able to assess where everything lies, my mom yeah.
Julian: What do we find out? Well, we saw an average increase in happiness 8.1% but the highest jump being 36.7%. What does this mean? Picasso once said “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” I am starting to think that dude was onto something. When you engage yourself artistically and use your imagination you can help regulate your blood pressure and your heart rate. Now, I know you’re thinking “I’m not an artist” don’t worry, you don’t need to know a thing about art to do this. I’m not an artist myself and I did the experiment. You can check it out in the special bonus episode we have next. Why don’t you try this out for yourself? Film it and upload it to us as a video response. Check this out, I even made a PDF of a body that you can use just for your experiment. Just the kind of guy I am. I’m Julian and this has been The Science of Happiness.
Video Transcription: Julian’s Art Therapy Sessions
Pamela: Julian, you know the drill. I’m going to give you one of your own exams.
Julian: Oh boy.
Pamela: Answer the questions, take as much time as you want.
Julian: This is a weird place to be. Okay, yeah. Let’s do this.
Pamela: You’re on the other side of the table.
Julian: Like it. Actually I like this one better.
Pamela: I’m going to have you choose seven different parts of your life. Seven different aspects that make up Julian’s life.
Julian: Okay, I know this next part.
Pamela: Okay, deal. You know what to do?
Pamela: Make my job easy.
Pamela: Can you read what you put on your list?
Julian: Yes. Dad, mom, humor, romance, [hockeying 00:00:51], friends and joy.
Julian: Thank you.
Pamela: All right, phase two.
Julian: Draw me like one of your French girls. Trained out liner.
Pamela: That’s my job.
Julian: It would be great … yeah you can fall back “I’m working for the police department.”
Pamela: All right. Come, see how awesome it is.
Julian: You got [thumbs 00:01:07] on everything.
Pamela: You have [thumbs 00:01:08].
Julian: I’m curvy.
Pamela: All right.
Pamela: You’re going to start with yourself. You don’t even need any direction, do you?
Julian: No. You telling it, comforts me.
Pamela: All right.
Julian: I’m not even making this up, when I was in sixth grade I took up art class and my friends that were amazing artist like sang songs about “Color inside the lines, Julian.” I couldn’t even do that right.
Pamela: How was that?
Julian: That was a lot of fun.
Pamela: A lot of fun?
Julian: I got carried away a little bit but yeah that was a lot of fun.
Pamela: What do you think when you see those colors mixing together?
Julian: I like that it reaches out across all the other things and I feel like it’s important to have a bit of myself in all this. [Joy 00:01:53] is something that I look for in everything all the time. I want to extend that and myself across everything thats important in my life and bring it all together.
Pamela: Does humor ever get you in trouble?
Julian: All the time. This is a true story. This is not going to be appropriate for camera but I want to tell it anyway. My sophomore year of high school, I ran for Vice-President of the class and my campaign poster said “Julian for Junior VP-ness” and I put them all over school. Got caught, three days to catch on.
Pamela: They are like “What is he saying?”
Julian: Yeah, what VP and they brought me into the office and had me explain myself. There were like “Read what you wrote for us” I was like “Yeah, sure. Julian for Junior Vice Presidentness.” They are like “No, read it” I was like “Okay, yeah Julian for Junior VP-ness. Oh my God, oh my God. I didn’t even … I had no idea. I made 80 copies more like 150, put them all over the school I didn’t know.” Well, I just played dumb and got away with it. From now on they review all the campaign posters of that high school before they go out. Affecting the world with positive change.