While I’m not a certified art therapist. As an artist and someone who has been managing severe night terrors for a decade I have found some great ways to self treat this all to common condition, while nurturing a valuable skill/hobby and empowering you to take control and make a positive change.
Many things can trigger night terrors. Abusive peer, family, and romantic relationships. War and combat memories, horrible accidents and crimes. The list can seem like it goes on forever and so can the night terrors themselves.
1. These intense dreams are often all to real to the senses, especially the vivid visuals.
With practise you can recognize when this happens and help use your minds eye to focus. This will help you maintain control of the nightmare as well as develop a great way to stimulate visual communication skills that are important to creating ideas/concepts in your art that can be used to communicate your feelings accurately and beautifully.
2. The next step is making sure you are comfortable not only while you are sleeping but also while you are creating. To do this make sure you have time to immerse yourself in a creative atmosphere. If you feel comfortable doing it write your dreams down to aid in visualization. Listening to music you enjoy can be helpful as well just don’t let it overpower your own thoughts and emotions. Meditation and relaxation techniques can help you become at home with visualizing as well.
3.While it is important to experiment using different materials, using ones you enjoy working with to start off is also key. You will have an easier time expressing yourself if you feel at home and free. Don’t worry about the artwork being perfect at first it is all about getting your issues onto the page and out of you.
4. Visualizing can be tricky for some people. While the goal is to recall and express your feelings it is important not to stress or upset yourself. If at any time you feel negative feelings taking control take a step back and take a second to retrace things in order to regain control of your visualizations again.
5. Finally I encourage people to be comfortable enough with themselves to be able to share the resulting artwork with those close to you family, therapists, close friends and so on. This will open you up in a way that verbalizing cant quite compare to especially if you feel nervous or shy.
After having night terrors resulting from an extremely emotionally, psychologically, and verbally abusive high school relationship. I felt as if my night terrors were a horrid burden never to be lifted. But during and after I graduated with my B.F.A in 2009 I found these dreams were an untapped source of insperation.
These tips have not eliminated my night terrors but they certainly have made things easier for me to control, express, and grow from what often seems like a curse. I use my own artwork as a sort of nightmare/dream time capsule.
Source by Amber Winkelmann