Review: Surviving Depression with Art Therapy


Joyce White holds that “everyone can doodle and scribble their way to wellness and joy. By climbing up, up, up, to fun, self-love, and up to the angels that want to hug us with creative possibilities.”

White is a Christian and a keen believer in helping oneself to emotional health through any creative way that one can, whether it be art making, journaling, writing poetry, or countless other means of positive self-expression.

White explores the importance of dreaming, and provides a number of exercises which we can use to heighten our senses. She encourages us to live in the moment, and stresses the importance of letting the symbols around you choose you. Quoting leading experts on art and a number of religious leaders, White encourages us to believe in the healing capacity of meaningful activity. She produces a number of her creations on her computer, whereas others she does by hand. And she makes clear that you don’t have to be an expert. As White writes, “Spontaneous imaging does not require talent, time or planning ahead. Anyone can draw on the computer.”
She finds a use for many different objects, even going so far as explaining how all paper can be recycled to make Paper Mache projects. (As someone who tends to discard a lot of paper, I need to take that one to heart!)

Skilful in a number of different media, White has the insight, gained from personal experience, to realize how art can lift one out of depression. She provides a self-quiz which allows one to work out whether one is suffering from the symptoms of depression. And she makes no bones about her coming from a line of depressives–she freely tells of how, despite suffering from bouts of depression, her family as a whole has been able to grow with joy and love. Not that she comes from an untroubled family background–far from it, as her parents were divorced for many years, but even so, as she readily admits, she was able to give them both care during their last days on earth, comforting and nursing them in the comfort of her own home.

Surviving Depression with Art Therapy is filled with numerous full-color photographs of White’s own clay and other work. The text radiates joy, and should inspire anyone who has ever had the slightest yen to start experimenting with any material which can be molded to give voice to one’s spiritual search for meaning. […]

By L. C. Henderson (Velddrift, South Africa)

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