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Self-Compassion Art Therapy Directive

On Valentine’s Day, romantic love is on many people’s minds, whether they are involved in a relationship, wishing they were or are peaceful without it. In my practice, I like to expand the idea of Valentine’s Day to include relationships with friends (I’m a big fan of “GALentine’s Day”), family, and especially yourself.

Compassion, acceptance, and self-love are so important to mental health wellness. In our current social-media infused culture, it is all too easy to rely on validation from other people in our lives instead of first finding it within ourselves. When we learn to treat ourselves with loving kindness, it deepens our ability to meet our own emotional needs. It can help us learn to be more present with ourselves and our own pain. Also, when we learn to offer ourselves mindful self-compassion, we tend to have more patience and compassion for the people in our lives.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer you a simple art therapy activity to help you uncover and strengthen your self-compassion:

Here's how you do it: First, gather some art supplies; whatever you have around your home will work. Markers, colored pencils, watercolors, or old magazines, scissors, and a glue stick are all excellent options. Then, take a few minutes to find a self-love quote that resonates with you; use that quote as a starting point for an art piece or a personal affirmation card. Quotes can help some people to express their thoughts and feelings more succinctly, how they have the power to heal and motivate, to inspire reflection, and to be a source of strength.

Then, start putting marks on paper, a card, an art journal, or start gluing on collage images and words. Don’t worry about what the final product will look like, simply try to engage with the art. I invite you to focus more on the process than the product and to see what happens. Just taking this time for yourself can be an act of self-love, notice what that feels like.

Lastly, find somewhere for your art where you will see it daily — where it can be a gentle reminder to practice being more loving and compassionate towards yourself. And then slowly, and with curiosity, sit back and watch your self-compassion bloom.

Sarah Gallop, LMFT, ATR

Hi, I’m Sarah, and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Art Psychotherapist. If you’re here, you’re likely struggling or confused, or perhaps going through a difficult transition. Maybe you simply want to understand yourself, your relationships, or your family better. Life is messy and full of challenges, and it is our response to those challenges that can determine our quality of life moving forward. The way we process our experiences can make living richer and more meaningful.

Clients tell me they appreciate my warm, casual, and compassionate style. In my sessions, I offer a safe and non-judgmental space to explore what makes you, you! I can give you tools to emerge from difficult situations in a healthy way, helping you to see those liminal spaces as an opportunity and space in which to gain agency to grow and thrive. Difficult transitions can be fertile spaces for growth, and I’m here to guide your way so that you can shine. We are in this, together.

Sarah is currently accepting online clients. To learn more about her schedule and availability, call/ text/ email her at 424-209-9426;

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