Using Art to Heal from Narcissistic Abuse: Interview with Art Therapist Jennifer Kramer

by

Share with a woman who needs hope!

“This was the big whammy… My whole life had been centered around pleasing the abusive person…trying to meet their ever-changing expectations…I really didn’t know who I was anymore.”

Art therapist Jennifer Kramer practices what she paints. She’s a survivor of narcissistic abuse and now teaches an art therapy process she developed during her recovery. 

She discovered that the most powerful part of art-making isn’t what we create — the final drawing or painting. It’s not about making something that looks pretty or gets displayed in an art gallery. It’s about the way art reconnects our minds and bodies and how it rebuilds an abuse survivor’s sense of identity. 

Because the real masterpiece…is YOU.

Put on your listening ears and grab a crayon:

  • What art therapy is (and isn’t)
  • The emotions of art media (pencils can be comforting and paint can be overwhelming)
  • Art-making and responsive writing: the left- and right-brain connection
  • Why talking to your art is helpful (even if it feels weird)
  • How art puts you back inside your body and rebuilds your intuition
  • What the “no-comment rule,” “process over product,” and “scribble drawings” are
  • Art therapy techniques to try at home (with nobody looking!)

Related Resources:

Jennifer Kramer is an artist, licensed art therapist, and online coach who helps women overcome the lasting effects of narcissistic abuse. She is the creator of The Redefined Process, an approach that uses a combination of spontaneous art-making and responsive writing, which she developed while recovering from narcissistic abuse. The Redefined Process works because it engages our bodies and minds in such a way that subconscious emotions, limiting beliefs, and desires are brought to the surface and (quite literally) made visible.

Got questions? I’d love to answer them on the Flying Free podcast!

Don’t miss a single episode. Sign up to get an update every time I post a new one.

“I found this podcast shortly after I ran away from an abusive marriage. I was in hiding and by God’s grace I got me and the kids out two days before the lockdown happened. I finally found someone who had shared experiences similar to mine. I learned so much about narcissism and gaslighting and I didn’t even know spiritual abuse was a real thing. I was one of those women who probably hurt others by the things I said preaching my own beliefs, not realizing the damage I was doing. It meant so much to hear other women share their own butterfly stories and to know that I was not crazy and I was not alone. I am a few years out now and things are a lot better. I don’t listen as often, but find value in every episode. I am so grateful for you, Natalie, and all the people you have brought on the podcast to share with people like me. Thank you! ” -Flying Free Podcast Review on Apple Podcasts

If you LOVED an episode, take a few seconds to submit a review. Reviews make the podcast more visible, so I can help more people.

Using Art to Heal from Narcissistic Abuse: Interview with Art Therapist Jennifer Kramer [Transcript]

Hi. This is Natalie Hoffman of Flyingfreenow.com, and you’re listening to the Flying Free Podcast, a support resource for women of faith looking for hope and healing from hidden emotional and spiritual abuse.

NATALIE: Welcome to Episode 176 of the Flying Free Podcast. Today, I have with us Jennifer Kramer. She’s an artist, a licensed art therapist, and an online coach who helps women overcome the lasting effects of narcissistic abuse. She’s the creator of the Redefined Process, an approach that uses a combination of spontaneous art-making and responsive writing. Jennifer developed this process while recovering from her own experience with narcissistic abuse, and discovered that the key to growth was to reconnect with and redefine her own identity. Welcome, Jennifer!

JENNIFER: Thank you! I’m so excited to be here and have this conversation.

NATALIE: I’ve been following you on Instagram, and I highly recommend that you go over and follow her. It’s a really good account to follow. She’s got some great, practical things you can do, and I’ve really enjoyed her Instagram account. I would like for you to tell our listeners what art therapy is in case people haven’t heard of that, and how is it different from other forms of treatment that people might be getting?

JENNIFER: So art therapy is a mental health profession. It requires a master’s degree and licensure to practice it. A lot of people think it’s maybe a certification or not on the same level as, for example, a licensed marriage and family therapist or a licensed counselor or social worker, but it is the same level of licensure and education required.

NATALIE: Wow. I did not know that. That’s fascinating. 

JENNIFER: Yeah. So there are a lot of therapists out there who like to try to incorporate art therapy techniques, and they might say that art therapy is a modality that they use, but unless they have some specific training, ethically, they really shouldn’t be calling it “art therapy.” So if you’re receiving art therapy, that is from a licensed, trained professional who has gone to an accredited master’s degree program in art therapy. I should specify, too, that it takes place within that psychotherapeutic relationship. So that might be a given based on what I just said, but I want to emphasize that, because there’s also, in addition to a lot of other therapists out there saying they do art therapy, and maybe they’re not really, there’s also a lot of things out there like adult coloring books that might say “art therapy” on the cover. I actually have something that someone gifted my daughter, some little coloring cards, and it says “Art Therapy in a Box,” but by definition, that’s not therapy, because therapy takes place within that psychotherapeutic relationship between the trained professional and the client. 

So we can engage in lots of fun, therapeutic art activities, which I will get into. I love making these techniques that come out of art therapy accessible to others. That’s what I do in my coaching program. We’re not doing therapy in an online coaching program, but I’m sharing the techniques that you can do at home, so it’s not to say that you can’t benefit from therapeutic art making for sure. That’s my big mission—is to make it accessible, but it’s not technically art therapy if it’s you using your coloring book at home.

NATALIE: Okay, that’s helpful. So in other words, if you are in a group and doing “art therapy” in a group, it’s not technically art therapy unless you’re in a one-on-one with your art therapist. Or how does that work?

JENNIFER: Well, it could be group therapy. So there is group art therapy or group workshops. I lead group art therapy workshops sometimes. So as long as it is led by a trained and licensed art therapist, then it is art therapy. 

NATALIE: I see, okay. So how do you use art therapy when you’re trying to help people heal from trauma?

JENNIFER: What I always come back to is the basics of art therapy, which has a lot to do with the art media. So a lot of people go into art therapy and they think, “Oh, this is just going to be something really relaxing for me to do,” and that’s the purpose of it, right? When you think of painting at home as a hobby, your goal is that you’re going to be able to relax, which is certainly amazing. But there’s more to it than that as far as what media we choose, and so that’s really the basics of it, which I would love to explain. This is my favorite part about art therapy. 

So any art media we use (when I say that, I mean the pencils, the crayons, the paints that we’re using), it can be sort of categorized on this spectrum from fluid media to resistive media. So fluid is like paint, and I’d say maybe watercolor paint is the most fluid. And resistive media would be like a pencil, like a regular No. 2 pencil. Or if we think about 3D material — you know, hammering two pieces of wood together is more resistive, right? It’s not fluid like paint. And there’s everything in between. So a marker is in between, a crayon is kind of in between, an oil pastel, which is sometimes called an “oily crayon,” that’s a little more fluid. Soft chalk that you can smear the dust, that’s more fluid. 

So the reason why this is important is that the more fluid media is more emotive. It gets us more in our body and in our emotions, and it activates kind of that right side of the brain in a different way, whereas the resistive media (this makes sense if you think about it), it’s easy to control. That helps us feel more in control. So those of us who were a little more type-A and prone to anxiety, we can kind of gravitate towards that media that’s easy to control. And that can be really great, so if you’ve experienced trauma, you know, we have that high need for control, right? Everything has felt so out of control, so we tend to want to be rigid and control our environments and those around us, and that can be a great exercise within this art-making process to experience that feeling of control simply by making art with pencils. I mentioned coloring books. If that feels good to you, there’s a reason for that: It’s because you feel comforted by that ability to control the materials. 

On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes I like that, and sometimes I feel very restricted by that, and I just want to scribble all over the page. It induces anxiety for me to try to stay in the lines, and so then it’s helpful for the therapist to note that, or yourself. If you’re doing art, I hope you take this and can do art yourself with this knowledge. It’s helpful to then explore more fluid media. And what I’ll do is I’ll try to inch my client. If they’re wanting to use those colored pencils and nothing else, I’ll try to gradually inch them towards media that’s a little more messy, let them experience that. I wouldn’t say it’s quite like exposure therapy, but kind of. You want to expose yourself a little bit to that and see how it feels, and then you can clean it up and you can sort of rein it back in. 

When I first learned this concept when I was in graduate school studying art therapy, I had a background in art—a bachelor’s degree in art, in painting, specifically—and this was a huge “Aha!” moment for me, because I remembered so many hours in my studio in undergrad sitting there painting and feeling overwhelmed and feeling anxious. And I loved painting, but I would just… Any art therapist watching me would have known exactly what was going on. I was just lost in the pain. I just kept going and going, covering it up, changing it. My professor had to come in and say, “Jennifer, this one’s done. You can stop,” because I was lost in the process, and I couldn’t rein it in and make sense of it. I would often take the back of my paint brush, the handle, and just draw lines in the paint to contain it. And I didn’t know why I needed that, but it just felt better to make lines. 

And then, you know, a few years later when I learn about art therapy, I’m like, “Oh, that was this. I know myself to be prone to anxiety, and the paint felt overwhelming to me and I was naturally making those lines to help me feel contained and safe and controlled.” And so that’s the same principles that the art therapist or you at home, armed with this knowledge, can implement yourself, to just pay attention — to kind of intuitively note how you’re feeling and what would feel best. There’s some days when I need those fine tip markers and it feels amazing to me, and some days where I need to finger-paint. 

Also, just in relation to trauma, we need to get into our bodies, right? So trauma is stored in our bodies, and I think the most effective trauma treatments… As we know, there’s been so much more research in recent years, which is amazing, that we need to access our bodies. There’s so many effective therapies like EMDR and others that activate the right and left side of your brain, and we can do that with the art-making process as well, whether it’s through using the fluid media and then kind of reining it in and being more controlled, or a process that I teach is (you mentioned when you were reading my bio) the spontaneous art-making followed by responsive writing

I always say we’re connecting our feeling brain and our thinking brain. We’re opening ourselves up with the emotions, with engaging our bodies with the art materials, and then we’re pulling it back into our thinking brain by just responding, basically free-association writing. And we do a sort of dialogue with the artwork where I encourage clients to ask your art questions. Pretend it’s like this other person in the room, and what you’re essentially doing in that process is you’re talking to different parts of your brain. 

So those who are familiar with trauma therapy, we know there’s these different parts of ourselves. We’ve got our inner child, our wounded victim from the abusive relationship, our competent adult, our professional part. And everybody has that, whether you’ve experienced trauma or not, but in trauma treatment, we want to integrate and connect those different parts. So I speak about it very simply, like I said: the feeling brain and the thinking brain, where really what we’re doing is we’re bringing out those parts that have felt stifled, those emotions that haven’t been able to be expressed. They’re coming out subconsciously in the art, and then they’re writing in response where that’s a way that we’re controlling it and bringing it back into the thinking brain. And it’s amazing. 

Even just doing that sort of free-association writing, I’ll often say, “What do you need? What do you want me to know?” I’ll ask the drawing that, and I’ll write down that question. I usually underline it to keep it separate so I know what’s the question and what’s the answer, and literally the next thing that comes to me, I write it down, whether it makes sense or not. And I just keep going like that, and it’s amazing as you write or after you kind of take a step back and read over it when you’re done, it’s exactly what you needed to hear. Sometimes, you know, “I knew that, and here it is in the art — that confirms it.” Sometimes it’s something that wouldn’t have occurred to you that day, but it completely makes sense. And so it’s this beautiful, lovely, non-judgmental interaction between these different parts of yourselves. And I know there’s so many other ways to approach trauma treatment with art therapy, but that is my favorite, is just to go back to the core of what art therapy is. It’s about the process and about how we use the art media. 

NATALIE: This is unreal. I think it’s amazing. Oh my gosh — I’m so excited. I’m thinking, “I could use this, my daughter could use this…” I’m so excited about this. Tell us about how this has played a role in your own healing journey.

JENNIFER: So as I mentioned, I was an artist. I got a bachelor’s degree in art, in fine arts, not knowing what I was going to do with that. I started out as an art education major and decided that was not for me. I was not about laminating visual aides of Impressionists’ paintings. That did not fit my personality. So I spent a lot of time, one whole semester of college, really, praying about what to pursue. Should I continue with art without a viable career that could come out of that? I really felt God affirming me to continue with the art and to trust that He had a career laid out for me, that it would be the perfect fit for me. 

So then, fast forward to several years later after having some work experience with abused kids and things like that, and thinking, “Oh, I could use art to help them. This makes sense.” I started studying art therapy, and I’ll be vague about some of the specifics as far as my abusive relationship just to protect all parties involved, but it was well after I had been trained as an art therapist that I found myself in this abusive relationship. So I’d had other relationships that maybe bordered on abusive. There was some manipulation going on there, some emotional abuse for sure, but this was the big whammy. This was the very abusive relationship that really, really changed me, that I thought I had made all the right choices and had avoided continuing this pattern of kind of controlling men and abusive people. 

And so after that relationship ended, I found myself, like so many of your listeners have experienced, where I really didn’t know who I was anymore. My whole life had been centered around pleasing the abusive person, just very much walking on eggshells, everything was hyper-focused on their needs and trying to meet their ever-changing expectations that I really could never meet. So I was in therapy, and I’d been in therapy before the relationship ended, and that’s what really helped me name the behaviors as abuse and get out of that. 

And as an art therapist and as someone who identified as an artist, my therapist pointed out to me (she was not an art therapist), but she pointed out to me that I described being an artist as a part of my identity, but I really wasn’t doing any art. And actually, that’s a part of the ethical code of art therapists, that we need to be engaging in our own art-making practice to stay in touch with that process. And so from that standpoint, too, I needed to be doing art, and she challenged me, and one session, we met at Tuesday afternoons at 1:00, she said, “Why don’t you just make some progress over this next week towards setting up some kind of art-making space in your new apartment?” I had just moved, was establishing my new life apart from this abusive person, and when she said that, I mean, it’s amazing how we just really need someone else to give us permission to take care of ourselves, right? 

And so when she said that, I knew that I had this big plan worked out in my head for months, maybe even kind of years on some level, of renting a small studio space for myself. And I hadn’t had that since college, and that’s a luxury that art students get. I had three different studio spaces at one point provided by the university for three different classes, and then you graduate and you don’t have that space. And so there was an art center here where I live where I knew they had small spaces that could be affordable. I had obsessively looked at their website before, priced the spaces, and thought about it, but had never taken that step, because I felt like that would be too big and risky, right? Like, “Who am I to go sign a lease on a studio space? I’m not a real artist, you know? What would people think? Would they think that was a foolish financial decision?” And financial abuse was certainly a part of my abusive relationship as well. So when my therapist said that, I thought, “Oh. I can do that. I am an artist. I can go rent a space.” It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist or not; anybody can go sign a lease on a space, right?

NATALIE: Right.

JENNIFER: I just thought I wasn’t worthy of that. So her suggestion really gave me permission to do that. So literally one hour before my next therapy session, the following Tuesday, I went to the art center. I’d looked at the website. I was like, “I want to look at these three spaces.” I chose one, I signed the lease, and then I went and told her what I had done. She was amazed. She just thought I’d clear out a corner of the kitchen, you know? So that’s where it all started. Using my knowledge and training of art therapy, I often joke that I was doing art therapy with myself, but as I already explained, that wasn’t technically therapy, because I wasn’t with a therapist. 

But I would just go and paint and draw, and I worked really large. I remember my first drawing, I rolled out a huge piece of paper and taped it to the wall so it was really comparable to my body size, and just like, walked along that wall and just drew with chalk and smeared it and did whatever felt good, and really went back to, like I said, all of the basics of art therapy, that it’s about the process. It’s about the process and how you’re engaging with the art media. It’s not about having a specific end result in mind of how you want it to look. And that was kind of naturally how I approached art anyway. So I went there and just spontaneously drew and painted. I finger-painted quite a bit. I cried quite a bit. 

And at one point, I remembered this responsive writing technique that I said I now use with my clients, and I’ve adapted it some for the online space and made it a little more step-by-step. But it originated from what’s called “The Studio Process” by an art therapist named Pat Allen. And she wrote a book called “Art Is a Way of Knowing” and also “Art Is a Spiritual Path.” She actually, I believe, grew up Catholic and converted to Judaism, and there’s a lot of that Judeo-Christian theology throughout what she teaches. In “Art Is a Way of Knowing,” it’s sort of like a memoir of her own art process. And she’s sort of a rogue art therapist that was not all about art therapists in a clinical setting, like, interpreting client’s work, and she was also not all about the whole art school mentality of critiquing each other’s work and judging them. “Basically, my approach…” she said, “Let’s just make art and see what comes out. No judgment — listen to what your art is saying.” So she called the writing process “witness writing.” So you’re witnessing your art and what it has to tell you, and she did this process within group workshops. So within the groups, she encouraged her participants to read their witness writing, unedited, and she had a rule called the “no comment” rule where no one was allowed to comment. It’s just you standing in your truth and allowing others to witness what has come out of you. So I wanted to explain that too. 

So I remembered learning about that in school. I didn’t remember all of the details — I just remembered that that had been impactful for me when I practiced it in school. So I started doing that. I just started doing what I explained a minute ago, doing that responsive writing, asking my art questions, and benefiting so much from that. 

Then a couple of years later, I had an amazing opportunity to display all of this artwork over a period of, like, three years in my little, dirty studio space. I had a chance to display that in a solo exhibit, which was crazy to me. It started out that there was this particular series of paintings I had created specifically to display, where I was depicting in an abstract way what emotional abuse felt like. It was this series of nine little paintings, and I wanted to display that. Then they said, “Well, we have more space for you, Jennifer. Do you have other stuff?” So I’m, like, digging stuff out from the corners, under the chalk desk, because this was art I had just made for me, right? It was just my expression. And then I thought, “How beautiful would it be to be able to share this with others?” 

As abuse survivors, it’s so important for us to be able to tell our stories and to feel heard and seen, and so, that art exhibit was called, “A Heart Made Visible,” and it was a wonderful opportunity for me to fill up the gallery with these works of art. I had some of them custom framed, and to see them put in a place of honor, framed and on a gallery wall, was such an amazing experience for me. And I had a chance at the gallery opening to share some about the work. 

And another really important decision I made was I took… It was hard, but I found, for most of the pieces, the responsive writing that I had written, my witness writing in response to those pieces of art. I found them all in my sketchbooks and notebooks, scattered throughout my studio, and I hung those pages next to the images. And you know, I edited things out. Like, I wasn’t going to include anything that had anyone’s name or anything too personal, but it was really important for me to be as vulnerable and open as possible to share this process with others. And around that same time, I was thinking, “How could I share this with other women in a workshop setting?” And so I led a few in-person workshops sharing this process and a bit of my story, and then down the road that became the online coaching program that I now have. So I’m literally teaching this process that I went through that was so impactful for me. It’s amazing, so fulfilling, to be able to share that exact process with other survivors of abuse.

NATALIE: Do you have a place where people could see those pictures and the things that you wrote? Do you have any place online, or not? 

JENNIFER: I have a couple of those images on my website, on the blog area of my website. It’s jenniferakramer.com. Images were posted on my Instagram around the time of the exhibit, but that’s a great idea. I should go back and gather that again to have it all in one place, kind of a virtual exhibit. 

NATALIE: Oh, yeah. I would love to see that. Okay, what role does spirituality play in the practice of art therapy? This is a Christian audience, so they would be interested to know how that is integrated.

JENNIFER: Yeah. One of the things I love about art therapy is that in the actual definition of art therapy from the American Art Therapy Association on their website (it’s like, a paragraph-long definition), but they include that art therapy is a mental health practice for individuals of all ages, all different backgrounds, that it encompasses the whole being, the whole person, which includes mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. And I don’t know the official stances from other mental health disciplines, but I love that art therapy specifically notes spirituality. And definitely that is not one specific religion. It is not Christian, but I love that there’s the openness to spirituality in general in my profession. And so it’s incorporated easily. 

Something I love about Pat Allen, the therapist that I mentioned, is that she also emphasized, while she’s coming more from the Jewish tradition, that’s her belief system, she emphasized that not only is that dialogue with your sort of inner self, when you’re dialoguing with your art work, but it’s also an opportunity for your Creator (that’s the word that she uses and that’s the term I use in my coaching program), it’s an opportunity for our Creator to speak to us too in that process. And of course, that immediately resonated with me as a Christian, knowing that if I’m doing any kind of self-work, learning to trust my intuition, to listen to myself, to listen to the other parts of my brain, that I have the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, so that is the Holy Spirit as a part of that process. I know some Christians talk about… I mean, I think there’s all sorts of what I call “toxic beliefs” about not being able to trust yourself and not trusting your intuition because, “You are inherently sinful and you can’t trust anything about you,” you know?

NATALIE: Yep.

JENNIFER: And that leads to a lot of manipulation and abuse within the church if you can’t trust yourself. But you know, hello! If God’s Spirit lives and ewells inside of me, and I am seeking that out in these sort of processes where I’m listening to myself in that, that is a beautiful opportunity for me to hear from God in a different way. And for sure, for me as an artist, you know, God definitely speaks to me through visual images, through even when I described how back in college I was praying about whether to continue pursuing art. The way God spoke that to me was through, I was praying in a worship service, and I looked up at a blank, white wall and envisioned a mural on that wall, and God used that to tell me, “Pursue art.” So I think God can speak in all those different ways. 

I love that it’s kind of a given within the art therapy profession that spirituality will be a part of it. I know oftentimes Christians can be sort of leery of seeking out therapy from someone who’s not a Christian, but I would say, first of all, any mental health professional is required to support, and they want to support your belief system. So their goal is not to draw you away from your beliefs. They want to support that wholeheartedly. But within art therapy specifically, like I said, that’s kind of a given that that’s going to be a part of it. So I think there’s just more of this openness for allowing that. But certainly something that I incorporate into my process, that we’re hearing from our Creator as well.

NATALIE: Yeah. I love that. Have you ever read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron or heard of that book? 

JENNIFER: I have. It’s been a long time, though.

NATALIE: This is just making me think of that. I happen to be listening to it right now, and it just dovetails perfectly with what you’re talking about. She’s got this book called (I’ll just say it for the listeners), it’s called “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” She addresses not just art, but she’s a writer, I think. So she talks about writing. But you incorporate writing too, which, I love that. Okay, so before we close, well, two things. First of all, you said that you had some practical examples of art therapy techniques that people could try at home even if they weren’t able to get together with a professional art therapist like yourself. So do you want to share what those might be? And then we’ll talk about how they can connect with you if they want to.

JENNIFER: Yeah. First, I would just offer a reminder of what I said about the art media. Pay attention to your mood in the moment and what feels good. And this is a practice. It’s a learning process to trust your gut. I always say that within the art-making process, that is the only place where impulse control is not required. You can go with your gut — there’s not going to be a big consequence unless you’re doing something crazy, like spray-painting the inside of your house and you’re going to regret that later, you know? There’s not a lot of impulse control required. You can trust yourself and go with your gut and try something. 

So I would recommend having a little bit of a variety of media. Fluid media: I recommend if you’re new to art materials, just the basic Crayola watercolor tray. You can get it in the school supply aisle of your grocery store. So that’s an easy place to start as far as having a fluid option. Then, you know, markers, crayons, colored pencils. If you feel especially adventurous, I think oil pastels and then also soft chalk pastels. So give yourself this variety of choices. And just be mindful of what you feel like you need in the moment, and be free to play. Let yourself play and experiment. That’s also something we kind of lose sense of in abuse — we don’t feel like we can play and just be free. So don’t be afraid to be kind of childlike and just play. 

NATALIE: You know what I’m thinking? I think, “I’m going to make a mistake.” I took a cartooning class because there must be some creativity thing inside of me that wants to come out, but I took this cartooning class, and I was so afraid to try new things because I thought I was going to make a mistake or it was going to be bad. So, like, what you’re saying, it makes me go, “Oh my gosh. I could just do whatever I wanted to?” It feels scary, and then partly it feels like I want to. I wish I could! 

JENNIFER: Yeah, and if we just keep that mindset of, “It’s about the process, not about the finished product.” Now, certainly we reflect on the finished product like in the writing, but it really is about the process and how you feel in the moment. I just pictured a young toddler playing in the bathtub and splashing. They’re engaged in the process — they’re not concerned with getting clean. It’s the process of just being there in the water, right? So we want to focus on that. 

The way I first started doing this, and even kind of back in college, I did this a little bit in a sketchbook in my room in college, but certainly in that little studio space after the abusive relationship. No one else had to see that. I did eventually end up exhibiting it, but that wasn’t the goal. So I think it helps to tell yourself, “No one else has to see this. This is just for me. I’m not going to be embarrassed or judged. This is just a private thing where I’m exploring and playing.” 

So a practical example of something you can do is literally a scribble drawing. So these are called “feelings scribble drawings.” This is really a basis of all art therapists. We use this — it’s a go-to. I do this with every new client. I did a workshop the other day where everybody, the first thing we did was a scribble drawing. This is what I do on at least a weekly basis. Last week, I was tearing paper into a million pieces and gluing it down and scribbling on top of it. With the scribble drawing, you want to take a minute to kind of be in your body and breathe and think about how you’re feeling, and imagine if that feeling was coming from your brain down through your arms out through your hands through that crayon or whatever your tool is onto the paper, how would it move across the paper? So if I’m anxious, of course it’s going to be a little more jumpy and have some energy to it. If I’m feeling calm or depressed, it’s going to be a slower line. So you can think about the speed with which you’re moving your crayon and also the shapes that you’re making. And again, there’s no right or wrong here. 

Also think about what colors you choose. If I love brown, and that’s my happy color. That might be depressing for someone else, but that’s okay. There’s no right or wrong there either. So go with your gut in choosing a color — go with just how your body feels. Let your arms sort of dance across the page to express that emotion. And then engage in that writing and response to it. “What are you? What’s this red over here in the corner? I hate pink — why did I use pink?” And write what comes to mind and just be open to exploring what has come up. So that’s something really basic that we can use as a feelings check-in with ourselves on a regular basis. Sometimes I do this and the whole process takes an hour or more, and sometimes I will literally make an “X” on the paper and that was my scribble, and I still get something out of that, because that tells me something about what I’m feeling. And again, I’m able to check in with myself. I could share more examples if you’d like, but that’s really kind of a good, basic place to start. 

NATALIE: Yeah. Well, our time’s almost up. I really want them to find out how… Because I know there’s going to be people that are thinking, “ I want to connect with her.” I looked at your app briefly, and it looked like you had different classes, but it also looked like you had a monthly membership. So tell us about what you offer and how people… What are the different ways that they can get help from you?

JENNIFER: Yeah, so I have a monthly membership on my app. It’s called “Redefined by Jennifer Kramer.” That is my kinda core program, is included in the monthly membership. It’s a ten-week challenge called “The Redefined Process” where I walk you through learning that art-making and response writing process. And the goal is by the end of the ten weeks, you are more grounded in your sense of self and in your identity. Because the core of everything I do is I identified that I was disconnected from my identity, from my sense of self, and that was the root issue of feeling stuck and still having so many emotional problems and not feeling like I could move forward after the abuse. So the goal is to help you get started on that path to redefining your identity so you can dream big dreams and accomplish… I always say make your daydreams a reality so you can really start to accomplish your goals. But we really have to get grounded in who we are first. So that ten-week challenge in the Redefined membership walks you through that process. 

As a part of that, I have weekly coaching calls where I answer questions. Every Thursday, I’m live-answering questions from the community. You have access to community chat with other members, to one-on-one chats with me, and you also have access to schedule a one-on-one coaching call if you’d like. Additional cost, but you have access to do that if you’re in the monthly membership program. 

Then I have other one-time purchases where I bundled together older coaching videos from a previous iteration of the program that were just left. No one could access them, so I have four different video bundles loosely with different topics. One is “Art, Spirit, Self.” That’s the first one, just related to identity. I get more deep into the art process. Another one where we talk more about codependency and relationships. But on each of those, I give suggested art and writing prompts in response to each video. So that’s a lot of value for just those one-time purchases for the video bundles. Also, something new that I’m starting just next month depending on when this airs — it might be the next group cycle that we’ll be starting, but I’m doing four-week workshops live on Zoom. So it’s not work at your own pace like the ten-week challenge. We’re meeting together weekly for four weeks and doing art together. We’re going to get a little deeper into some trauma treatment. 

Something I didn’t mention earlier is bilateral stimulation like with EMDR therapy, where you’re literally physically, through buzzers or through lights, activating the right and left sides of your brain. We do that anyway kind of with art and writing process, but we’re going to get into bilateral drawing in the live Zoom classes. And so to put it simply, that’s drawing with both hands at the same time, but there’s a lot of different ways to do that. So I’m really excited to offer that for the first time, because that’s something that we need to be live together on Zoom to do. I don’t want to just send you out to do that on your own in the ten-week challenge, the self-guided courses. So I’m excited to offer that. That’s a new thing available. So, so many different ways to engage. But certainly my Instagram page would be a great place to start. It’s jenniferannekramer, and then my link in bio, there is a Linktree link, so it has links to all the other things where you can learn about the app and all of that.

NATALIE: Perfect. Alright. Thank you so much for being willing to come on here and introduce this whole concept. I had never heard… I learned so much today that I didn’t know about, and I’m so thankful to now have this understanding of what art therapy actually is so I can talk about it with a little bit of intelligence now and refer people to this episode too. So we appreciate your time. Thank you to those of you who are listening. And until next time, fly free.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.