What if you want to try therapy, but the thought of talking to a stranger for an hour about your inner world makes you want to hide? In this episode, we talk about art therapy, another way to tap into your feelings and intuition in a powerful way.
In this episode, Janice and her guest Youhjung Son, an art therapist and business coach, demystify what art psychotherapy (or "art therapy" for short) is, and how it helps people tap into their inner world in powerful ways that talk therapy can sometimes miss. Youhjung also talks about her coaching work helping budding art therapists make a career out of this practice, and Janice shares about her experience getting a "taste" of art therapy through Youhjung's online exercises.
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Hey ya’ll, welcome back to The Soul’s Work Podcast, the show about uncovering our authentic selves through doing both the light work and the shadow work. I’m your host Janice Ho, and I’m really excited to get back to talking about therapy today. I know we’ve been talking a lot about dating, sex, and relationships. And given that this podcast follows my personal journey, y’all can probably tell what’s been on my mind lately.
But I’m psyched to introduce y’all to my guest, Youhjung Son, who is an art therapist. We recorded this convo on March 24. Today is April 20, 2022. And in this conversation, we’re gonna be clarifying what an art therapist does, because there can be a lot of misperceptions.
But just to say up top, I learned that people working in art psychotherapy, specifically, really have to have a lot of skills. Like, the same skills as a typical talk therapist would have – because contrary to what it might sound like, there is actually talking involved – but there’s also this component of using art as perhaps a portal to accessing and uncovering one’s feelings and what’s coming up for them. And even engaging in the art to tap into how someone might want to move forward from that or solve a particular issue they’re having.
So, I actually got to experience a taste of art therapy through trying some of the exercises on Youhjung’s YouTube channel and her podcast. And even though it wasn’t a full-on session with an art therapist, I was like, oh, this is powerful. And then I was able to process some of what came up for me with my actual therapist in a subsequent session. And I share more about that experience in this conversation.
So, last thing I’ll say before some housekeeping and introductions is that I know therapy is not the be-all-end-all. I’ve personally gained so much from it, and even then, I think it really took the right therapist to help me with the huge transformations I’ve experienced in the past three-and-a-half, four years, in particular.
I’m still working with her today. I just had a session with her yesterday, and I get so excited about seeing her and being able to process what I’m going through in life with someone who is so reliable, consistent, and emotionally attuned. Someone who can hold all the complexities of who I am and the range of my emotions and feelings, no matter how uncomfortable, and not be there trying to fix me or change me.
Because I think we can feel that energy when someone is trying to do that and coming through a lens of judgment. And sure, people can challenge us in healthy ways, so we don’t stay stuck. I think that’s super important too. But, for me anyways, it’s really about helping others tap into their own power, their own capacity, their own intuition that already knows what’s best for them. That, to me, is the most empowering thing that will sustain the change we want to see over the long term.
And I guess my hope is that, whether you’re in therapy or not, that you have someone, or even people, plural, who can be that for you. Because it’s already tiring enough to move through a world that is constantly telling us how to be. So, whose metaphorical – or literal – arms can we fall back into and let go of those heavy burdens, if for a few moments in our day?
Okay, that’s my spiel. Before we dive into the conversation, just a quick reminder that if you are enjoying the show, I’d love to hear about it. You can let me know in a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Podchaser. Some of the comments I’ve received that have really touched me are that listening to the podcast and me speaking honestly about my story has validated their own experiences; that we talk about challenging subjects here on the pod in a way that puts them at ease; and that there’s a sense of non-judgment here. And there really isn’t – as much as I can be nonjudgmental as the mere mortal that I am.
So I’d love to hear your feedback as well. Don’t forget to also rate and subscribe to the show. It takes five minutes, but it really means the world, and it’s a great way to get others tuning in who might also benefit from listening to these conversations. You can also follow me on Instagram @janicehoimages, on Facebook @thesoulsworkpodcast, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All the links will be in the show notes for you.
All right, let’s meet my amazing guest. Youhjung is a board-certified art therapist, business coach, and plant lover, currently based in the D.C. area. She is all about introducing art therapy to people who don't have access to it and breaking the mold for art therapists in terms of where & how they can work.
She is passionate about bringing therapeutic art making to the everyday person, and using art as a healing tool to express and understand oneself. Through Youtube, her podcast, and blogging, Youhjung helps make art therapy accessible, encouraging people to pick up their paintbrushes and create without judgment.
I loved this conversation with Youhjung. I know you will too. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.