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Art As Therapy

Bonding projects become Hanukkah tradition

Hanukkah is all about the heroism of a few against many and their triumph. And the fact that the oil for lighting lasted a long time means the triumph of light and hope over darkness and hopelessness.
    This is a perfect message for the times we are in and all the more reason to come together and create self-care festive art! This Hanukkah, let’s try to slow down and really connect with ourselves and our families by doing mindful and uplifting creative activities on each of the eight days and nights. This could also become a fun tradition.
    Some ideas may include creating Hanukkah-themed art with craft/painting (example,  making a handmade gift for or with loved ones each night, or sculpt, paint and decorate your own menorah or dreidel out of clay),  journaling (example: write down eight  things you are grateful for), make “food art” by making latkes and decorating sufganiot for fun family bonding time. 
    Creating art together as a family and community allows parents, children, families and the community to be brought together, bonding, having new creative memorable experiences together, and possibly gain better insight, share how each other is feeling or thinking by participating in arts and crafts activities or other activities, including the healing/therapeutic benefits of art.
    Arts and crafts are a great way for youth to turn to their endless imagination all while doing something productive and expressive with it through creativity. For example, this is something Diana “MissDee” of Art Therapy OC loves doing each year with our Jewish community and beyond (of all faiths) coming together to celebrate and learn–learning that we all have common values and  to literally share and spread the light.
    Creating art as a family or community also encourages quality time together. Art is a healthy way to spend time together and is one of the best bonding experiences and allows for learning an entirely new skill together and for a healthy fun way to express through creativity.
    MissDee loves the opportunity for youth and community to not only celebrate, but to come together through creating art together this Hanukkah, along with the intention and message of being kind and tolerant toward each other no matter what background/faith we come from. This is a beautiful example of how powerful, beneficial and therapeutic art and creativity can be.
    Believe it or not, self-care is a deeply Jewish ideal and can be found mentioned in the Torah.
     After completing his task of creating the world, G-d devoted an entire day to be at one, in peace and rest once his work was complete. The Jewish tradition values G-d’s ways and follows his ways. This part of the Torah teaches us that recovery, rest and self-care are to be respected and followed as taught by G-d.
    As you and yours light the candles this Hanukkah, be sure to look at the light shining inside of you, and honor ways to ensure your inner flame is happy, healthy and bright.  

DIANA SHABTAI “MISSDEE, PSY.D., ATR-BC IS A BOARD CERTIFIED ART THERAPIST WHO OBTAINED A MASTERS DEGREE IN CLINICAL ART THERAPY, MA IN MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPY & A DOCTORATE DEGREE IN MFT. SHE IS PASSIONATE ADVOCATE FOR BRINGING AWARENESS TO THE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF ART. EXPERIENCE STUDYING, WORKING, & EDUCATING IN THE FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGY & THE THERAPEUTIC ARTS FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS, AND HER ART STUDIO IN NEWPORT BEACH -ART THERAPY OC SHE IS A CONTRIBUTING WRITER TO JLIFE MAGAZINE.

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