Expression Through Art After Brain Injury

Brain Injury Blog by Janelle Breese Biagioni

October 17, 2011

Expression Through Art After Brain Injury

When I suggest people use art as a way to express their feelings, often the response is, “I can’t draw.” Art is so much more than sketching on paper and there are many ways in which it can be experienced. Art is a tiny word for an expansive list of activities: music, writing, film, photography, sculpting, drawing and painting, gardening and more. 

Over the years, I have encountered some fantastic artists who never picked up a brush or pencil until after being injured. What started out as being a time-filler and form of relaxation for many has turned into being a meaningful hobby that produces astounding works of art. 

The benefit of art is that it has the capacity to affect one or more of our emotions and senses. By tapping into our creativity, we can unleash hidden talents and develop a new self-identity. Moreover, art contributes beautifully to cognitive rehabilitation. It helps to improve focus and concentration, visual perception, motor skills and even problem solving. For me, however, the greatest benefit comes from the emotional health of giving expression to our feelings. Sometimes, it is impossible to put our feelings into words. Using art (music, writing, painting etc.) gives a voice to those feelings and helps to release the pain and sorrow so we can embrace happiness and joy again. 

Who cares if it isn’t perfect? If you want to perfect a talent, all you need to do is practice, practice, and practice. Take a few lessons in drawing or painting if that helps. Take in a dance class and allow yourself to escape into music and move your body. If you still doubt that you have what it takes, just look at what children can do with macaroni glued on paper and a can of spray paint – my most treasured pieces of art came from my children and grandchildren. They didn’t worry about perfection… they just allowed themselves to create. 

Do what makes your heart sing and enjoy!

One response to “Expression Through Art After Brain Injury”

  1. I sustained a brain injury in 2000 from a car collision. In that I had oil painted before, I began oil painting for recreational therapy during my rehabilitation at the hospital. After a yeat of Transitional Living at the hospital, I continued oil painting in class instruction. Not only did painting help develop motor skills, but psychologically it was the best thing I ever did.

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