By Hayley Spire, Chattanooga, Tenn. —

The counseling and personal development center is offering a group therapy called Explore Yourself Through Art which provides a more casual way to participate within the counseling center and opens a door to students in a way that offers a start to learning what the center has to offer.

Students meet every Monday from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m.

The counselor for Explore Yourself Through Art, Lauren Brouhard, clarified that this counseling session is different than some because it does not focus around a dialogue. The session starts with Brouhard introducing the project for the day and then playing some music while the group works.

“As the counselor, I try to facilitate the conversation, but there are times when we are just focused on what we are doing,” said Brouhard. “I believe that doing art is very therapeutic and relaxing and coming to the art group is a great way to set aside the stress of the day.”

The art group offers a way to creatively escape from school work, classes and life’s frustrations, while taking time to create something beautiful without the concern of competition. 

The group has met twice so far this semester. The first activity revolved around self-care where the group made a visual wellness plan, depicting different activities and goals that can foster self-care. The group identified goals and then created a visual representation of that.

At the next session, the group looked at paintings by Giueseppe Arcimboldo, who created portraits using objects like fruit and flowers. Then the group created self-portraits made up of things that were important and valuable to them.

Other activities include creating masks representing the different “masks” most people wear throughout their lives, as opposed to always showing people their true selves, discussing resilience and what keeps you rooted and grounded when adversity hits. Students would then create a painting of a tree with the roots to represent those things in your lives that ground you, as well as making vision boards of things that inspire and motivate them in their lives.

The specific dates for the events happening within the Explore Yourself Through Art group are to be announced. However, sessions work as an open group meaning that students can drop in whenever they would like to come and have the option to go to one group or all of them. 

Students may also contact any of the counselors and view the event list by visiting the Counseling and Personal Development Center website at www.utc.edu/counseling-personal-development-center/ or by dropping by the office located in the UC in room 338 between 9 a.m.  and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.