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Art In Search of ‘Home’

by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC

When we consider the concept of ‘home’, we might envision a place where we feel safe, nurtured and loved. This could be a physical space like our childhood home, a cozy cottage in the country, or a beach in the tropics. For centuries, homes have been designed and built with symbolism in mind, incorporating elements that reflect the people who live there. Each room in a house has its own purpose and meaning, and every detail has significance. When we think of home, we could also be referring to a social space of safe belonging such as with a supportive community or circle of friends. The concept of home can also refer to an emotional space- to a feeling or an idea that a person carries with them wherever they go. While the definition of home is personal and unique to each individual, there are some common themes and symbols that often appear in our visions of home.

There is great power in the symbolism of home. When we are feeling lost or uncertain, home provides us with a sense of grounding and stability. It reminds us of who we are and where we come from. Home is often symbolized by a physical space that provides comfort and security. Our ideal vision of home can be described as a place where we feel safe and secure, and where we can relax and recharge. It's a literal and symbolic place of refuge. Home is a haven, a place where we can be ourselves without judgment. It's also a representation of their identity and values. It’s also a place where we can express our individuality and our creativity.The important thing is that we feel connected to it.

Additionally, one of the most important aspects of our mental health is our home life. Our home is more than just the physical structure of four walls and a roof. Our home life encompasses the relationships that we encounter with others sharing our environments as well as our responses to our day to day challenges and needs. Our home may be a meaningful and special place and space where we gather with family and friends, share our lives, and create memories. On the other hand, the reality of our home lives may not meet our expectations or reflect what we would want our hope for in our relationships and sense of security. Our mental health is influenced by our home life and we can often find connections between our associations with home and our own lived experiences.

The place where we come from, the place we grew up in, the place that we return to when things get tough – home is so many things to so many people. Consider what the concept of ‘home’ represents for you. Ask yourself these questions as you begin to define your own ideas of home:

-Where do I feel that I most belong?

-When I envision home, what can I imagine seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and/or touching in this space?

-With whom do I feel most at home with?

-What reminds me of home?

-Where can I find home in new places?

-What do I need to feel at home?

For this art therapy directive, consider how your own lived experiences with home might compare and contrast to the conceptual understanding you have of ‘home’. When you are ready, consider drawing, collaging or painting what home means to you. As you are creating this image, consider what objects or symbols you might use to express the emotional content of the space in addition to the physical qualities.

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