MElection Day

election flag

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This time of year we are bombarded by slogans, campaign ads, persuasive friends and family members’ opinions and urgings to, “do the right thing” as Election Day nears. When it is a Presidential election year, these influences are amped up to another level. But when we go into that voting booth or face our absentee ballot we are alone with our pencil. The choice is all ours. No one has to know whom we chose or why. We are free to make our own decisions unfettered by external pressure.

This is good advice for living our lives as well. November is not the only month when we are flooded with endless messages from the media, loved ones, and colleagues to make certain choices and be the person they want us to be, or give control over to someone more competent. But when it comes right down to it, it is our choice what we do and how we live our life. It is our choice how we feel about our bodies, manage our stress, and take care of ourselves.

The purpose of this Therapeutic Arts Directive is to nominate ourselves as the person who will best manage the stresses and choices that are so prevalent in the November days ahead. This activity helps us to clarify who and what are the issues and the choices we have in order to tackle them in the best way possible for health and happiness. It is an opportunity to discover our own voice in the midst of everyone else’s advice and demands; and devise a success oriented plan of action.

Art Materials:

Paper, poster board, pencils, markers, (optional: scissors, glue sticks, magazines).

How To:

Brainstorm and write down at least 1 upcoming issue/challenge that may arise in relation to Election Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, or any other November based event, e.g. holiday meals, pressure re: dressing up for dinners, political disagreements, loss or absence of a member of the military, etc.

Be specific. What is the challenge? Which predicted behaviors are causing anxiety or worry?

Now imagine you are a candidate who is campaigning to “fix” these issues. On a separate piece of paper brainstorm strategies you will put into place when you are “elected” to take care of yourself.

Don’t censor yourself but keep the interventions positive and doable. Are there others on your ticket that will reinforce your strategies?

Using art supplies, create a campaign poster with a slogan and at least one specific challenge and action plan the same way a candidate would publicize: Problems with the Economy: Here’s my plan.

If this is an Expressive Arts Therapy (Multi-Modality) group, have group members act out some of the scenarios depicted in the posters or role play mock elections between the candidate who would choose body hate and or disordered eating as coping mechanisms as opposed to self-acceptance and mindful eating interventions.

Each month I offer an Expressive Arts Therapy directive that focuses on Body Image and or Eating Disorders and is associated with specific challenges that a month may present. These directives may be used in individual or group therapy sessions or as self-help activities. Sometimes the activity itself is nothing new or brilliant but the OBJECTIVE or RATIONALE of the directive is unique and specifically tailored to exploring issues related to body image and disordered eating. ENJOY! Fun is the main ingredient!

This expressive arts directive is from contributing guest author Dr. Deah Schwartz. Once a month, Dr. Schwartz shares an art therapy idea or activity to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing in the areas of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Some of these activities may need to be facilitated over more than one session, or modified for different ability levels, size of group, budget and size of work space. Learn more about eating disorder therapy here.

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