One of the main objectives of creating art in art therapy is to have our clients tell their own story using their own visual language. This provides insight into a perceived experience and some understanding of the formation process of our client’s identity or identities. In art therapy, stories are told, explored, validated, retold, and often transformed into new narratives through the use of art. Nowadays, we frequently encounter the telling of one’s story through social media. However, the storytelling with a wide audience can be quite different from the story you tell in therapy.
One thing we can learn from social media is the use of digital tools. Digital media makes storytelling widely accessible and convenient to explore in art therapy. Digital storytelling (DS) is a wonderful therapeutic process that unfortunately many art therapists overlook. It uses a combination of text, audio, images and video to create a rich narrative that stimulates our senses. But, Digital Storytelling is not about media overload. In fact, it is more about mindfully listening, seeing and sensing the powerful stories that unfold. We should also note that today’s children and young adults are aligned with technology and digital literacy is almost like second nature to them, and as therapists we need to educate ourselves in new platforms and tools to be culturally competent.
The Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) is a a non-profit, community arts organization in Berkeley, California that uses the power of technology and creativity to promote positive change through storytelling. Although their public workshops are for mainly educators and social advocates, I believe art therapists can benefit from learning how Digital Storytelling is conducted, processed, and disseminated/contained. Click here for CDS Youtube Channel and view the various Digital Stories.