Since ancient times, man has known the healing power of art. Art therapy has been used in spiritual purification, in various rituals, in psychiatry, and in rehabilitation from various forms of addiction. This method is so versatile and beautiful that it is ideal for working with completely different goals. The use of creativity to bring to the surface various internal stresses is nothing but a well-forgotten old one. In creative engagement and self-expression, a powerful energy impulse is born.
Transpersonal art therapy (TPAT) is a synthesis of perhaps the most amazing areas of modern psychotherapy. It helps people find answers to the eternal questions “Who am I?”, “ How can I find my true self?”, “ What is my purpose?”. This approach uses the creative potential of a person given to him from birth to integrate the personality.
Transpersonal art therapy is based on the idea of the possibility of realizing the inner, deep transpersonal potential of a person for healing and improving the psyche, for personal and spiritual growth through awareness and experience of unsatisfied and unrealized desires of a person, transformation of the negative consequences of the perinatal period of life, psychotraumatic events. This is the value of the transpersonal approach — not only to help solve the deep problems of a person but also to release a huge internal developing and self-healing potential (resource), as well as to teach them to use it.
Art therapy and holotropic breathwork
Art therapy methods are used as an adjunct to holotropic breathwork sessions. Since the experience gained in holotropic breathwork sessions is often very difficult to express in words, participants often reflect their experiences, feelings, and emotions through drawing. The language of images is unified and clear and is universal for communicating with one’s own unconscious.
In addition, music therapy is actively used in transpersonal psychotherapy. In his works, S. Grof emphasized the importance of motivational music for improving the effectiveness of holotropic breathwork sessions. Music, according to Grof, is a “catalyst for deep self-exploration”, a guide to the world of the unconscious. During a holotropic breathwork session, various musical compositions are played that enhance its effect and to some extent control the process. S. Grof described the musical accompaniment of a holotropic breathwork session as follows.
“As a rule, the session begins with energizing music, dynamic, smooth, emotionally uplifting and encouraging. As the session continues, the music gradually increases in intensity and reaches very strong trance-inducing pieces, and ideally, taken from the rites or spiritual traditions of various indigenous cultures. Despite the fact that many of these performances may also be aesthetically pleasing, the main goal of the groups of people who created them was not to entertain but to evoke holotropic experiences.
Half an hour or an hour after the start of the holotropic breathwork session, when the experience usually reaches its peak, we play what we call “breakthrough music.” For this moment, sacred music is chosen: masses, oratorios, requemas, and other powerful orchestral works — with the exception of soundtracks from feature films. In the second half of the session, the intensity of the music gradually eases, and we introduce tender and emotionally exciting pieces — “soul music”. And finally, at the end of the session, the music becomes soothing, smooth, non-rhythmic and thoughtful.”
Currently, transpersonal art therapy is no longer just an additional method and is allocated to a separate direction. Its peculiarity in the key of the transpersonal approach is that, unlike the practice of most therapeutic schools, the images created by clients and their experiences are not interpreted by the therapist in terms of general concepts. No one knows better than the person himself the true meaning of the images that have arisen in him. The only exceptions are archetypal images, in the interpretation of which a dictionary of symbols can help, but again adjusted for the individual experience of the client.
Transpersonal art therapy is a universal method that promotes the integration of biographical, perinatal and transpersonal experiences. It promotes the acquisition of integrity and inner harmony, as well as allows you to learn more about yourself and your capabilities.