Healing Through Art is Mission of Local Therapist

liza hyatt lawrenceThe experience sounds appealing. Benefits include: increase in self awareness and awareness of others, cope with stress and traumatic experiences, enhance memory and cognitive abilities, alleviate pain, enhance personal well- being and more.

Is this a trip to a spa or a new 12-step program? Actually, it is neither. These are the results of what can be gained by participating in “art therapy,” according to Lawrence resident Liza Hyatt.

Hyatt is a board certified art therapist and a licensed mental health counselor with 17 years experience as a therapist facilitating group and individual counseling and art therapy groups with adults. Hyatt specializes in women’s issues, health, spirituality and life creativity coaching. Her work includes inpatient psychiatric hospitals, the Julian Center counseling center for women and children, as well as private practice.

At the Julian Center she created an open art studio for counseling center clients and shelter resident. “Putting the Pieces Back Together” is a mosaic project to educate the public about domestic violence issues. This project won local and national awards.

“Over and over again I meet people who are starved for real, authentic creative expression in their lives and who for one reason or another are blocked,” Hyatt said. “Yet, without opportunity for this in our lives, we become unhealthy, cynical, flat.

“We try to answer our innate need for creativity with substitutes—like empty comsumeristic behavior,” she continues. “This only perpetuates the problem because it leaves us out of touch with the deep longing at our core. In my work with adults, my focus is to help others reclaim that longing through discovering their own authentic creative lives.”

Hyatt shared the following example of the benefit of art therapy: “A Grandmother who is a survivor of breast cancer uses art therapy to help her reclaim parts of herself that were denied through years spent overly caring for others. She feels art therapy helps her take care of herself, know herself deeply, and through this, she feels healthier.

“In one of her drawings, she depicted herself standing open-armed and strong on a mountain-top. A few months later she found herself hiking a mountain on a vacation in New Mexico and reached the end
of a trail to find a place very much like in her artwork. She stood there, open-armed and triumphant feeling. She described feeling that she was ‘in the world’ in a more whole way thanks to the art therapy she has done over the years.”

Hyatt suggests the following helpful exercise: Keep a log over the course of a week, noting how many times you feel (either internally or externally) your creativity is blocked by negative messages. At the end of the week, write three reasons why those negative messages aren’t valid.

In private practice, Hyatt offers both group and individual therapy and also facilitates retreats, which help participants connect art, creativity and spirituality with personal growth and healing. If you want to specialize in a specific area of hypnosis, such as medical or clinical hypnotherapy, certified hypnotherapy training can help you gain the necessary expertise.

The www.lizahyatt.com website briefly describes the Art for Well-being group and retreats offered by Hyatt. It also offers a link to the American Art Therapy website to learn more about art therapy. For more information, contact Liza Hyatt at 823-0370 or e-mail her at lizah2@lizahyatt.com.

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