Closure Art in Group Therapy Setting

In this professional entry, I share one of my favorite Art Therapy directives that I enjoy using in group therapy! The image above depicts my finished Art Therapy “product” or special art object. This was done during our group’s last Art Therapy group session together.

The Art Therapist cuts little pieces of card stock, Bristol board, mixed media, or watercolor paper (often scraps can be used: cut into smaller pieces with enough room to write a small phrase or a couple of words on). These little pieces of paper can have colors or paint on them to give it a nice background for your written expression. Each group member has the same number of pieces of paper as the sum of the number of members in the group including one for themselves. All pieces of paper are placed by each member’s blank wooden doorknob hanger (it does not have to be wooden or even a doorknob hanger – it can be another kind of object: 3D or 2D: paper/canvas, etc.) We sat in a circle, on cushions on the floor: members can be seated at a table as well, whatever is cohesive and comfortable for the group.

“People leave traces of themselves where they feel most comfortable, most worthwhile.” 

Haruki Murakami


We chose a direction and began the movement! Each group member walks over to another group member’s art space in the chosen direction (to the right or left) and therefore arrives at their neighbor’s art space. They take one piece of paper in their hand and heartfully reflect on that specific group member and allow a phrase, or another descriptive word(s) to come to them that represents the group member or their “essence” which was the language we used in this soulful artsy group. It can be based on whatever language or words your group is comfortable with! 

The group member writes it on the piece of paper, and we do that until we get through everyone, returning to our original art space with a handful of sweet anonymous written love notes to reflect on, cherish, and internalize all the goodness – a very sweet moment… and with one piece of paper left for ourselves. On this last piece of paper, we do the same for ourselves! We then glued all these pieces of paper on our wooden door hanger to complete the Art Therapy directive! 

This little door hanger is so packed with love and meaning and was something I cherished for years after this specific Art Therapy group that I participated in and helped to facilitate with an old professor of mine. It acted as a reminder of the diversity and sincerity of connections I made during that group, the healing work I did, the memories of the safe environment that was held for us to explore, learn, and process together. It helped me take all of that with me after the group, helping me with closure and my integration process upon ending our group!

Happy integrating! 

Many heartfelt blessings,

Rachel Howard, LMFT, ATR-BC, RYT

All images © Rachel Howard

Friendly reminder (disclaimer): The information in this entry is not therapy and cannot be a substitute for work with a licensed therapist. The information in the entry is only intended for educational purposes around the topic of Art Therapy, a different perspective, or ideas for self-care/wellbeing and food for thought.