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Students lead art therapy sessions, reduce anxiety

By Selina Pohl

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DRAWING: Students participate in art therapy held by Larkayla Mosley and Abby Kaufman. Photo by Selina Pohl

Art therapy has been an up and trending topic throughout the last few years. With adult coloring books having their big debut over this past Christmas season, scientists have been exploring the benefits of adults releasing their stress through activities such as drawing, painting and coloring books.

Juniors Larkayla Mosley and Abby Kaufman brought this vision to the campus through Genesis, an art therapy session they started on campus that takes place once a month in Hardy basement.

Kaufman said she believes that art is a passion and creativity that can be looked at as a therapy in of itself if you “enter with the right heart.”

The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as “a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem.”

This is what Mosley and Kaufman are bringing to campus. Anyone can join the session and transform their anxiety into art.

“I believe in art therapy because where words fail, art speaks,” Mosley said. “Therapy is not for sad people. It’s for the broken. As sinful beings, we are all broken people and that is what therapy is for.”

The vision behind Genesis was born while Mosley was on a missions trip to Paris and got the chance to host her own art exhibit. She was pushed to use the exhibit as a means of reaching out to people with the Gospel.

“With the aid of a translator, they were able to communicate the meaning that they saw in my work,” Mosley said. “And that’s when I knew that God had big plans for the art realm.”

Returning back to campus this fall, she partnered with Kaufman who said she hopes to start her own private practice for it.

Their first meeting had 10 attendees and grew to 30 by the second meeting.

Each gathering has a different focus and drive behind it. February’s first objective was to have students draw what they thought to be a beautiful picture. Later, Mosley took all the participants into a separate room and discussed how God sometimes evolves human plans into something more beautiful. Meanwhile, Kaufman  ripped everyone’s art into tiny pieces and asked that everyone put them back together. The vision came full circle when everyone started rearranging their art into something Kaufman and Mosley describe as more beautiful than before.

The duo encourage people to express their feelings on a canvas that they can take back to their dorm and reflect on. They said they desire creative liberty and art expression to be allowed throughout the event.

“Our creativity is something God takes joy in,” Kaufman said. “It’s a method of worshiping that can bring us into a new and different kind of depth in our relationship with Him, and that’s what I’m excited to be a part of.”

Mosley agreed.

“Genesis was started to get the word out there that the Lord has instilled creativity into every single one of us,” she said. “The first sentence of Genesis is “in the beginning, God created…” And if we are made in his image then we can infer that we are creative in some way.”

MAC now sponsors the event and funds all of the required art equipment.

“I get encouragement from others nearly every day about how much the group has impacted them already, which is exactly what my prayer was when this all started,” Mosley said. “Jesus is really moving in our campus, and I cannot wait to see where He takes Genesis next.”

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