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Oklahoma woman using art therapy to help people cope during pandemic

Oklahoma woman using art therapy to help people cope during pandemic
Posted at 3:23 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 16:16:56-04

Earlier versions of this news report did not clarify that Emilie Smith is a therapist and not a client of the art therapy program

"I like to help people see things differently."

Linda Reynolds is a licensed marriage and family therapist, but she's also a mixed-media artist who enjoys restoring and repurposing vintage pieces.

For decades Reynolds has been using both skillsets to help people cope with all the demands.

"People are feeling like their energy is spent just on surviving," Reynolds said.

And all the stress.

"Under stress, the neuropathways of the brain basically shrivel up," Reynolds said. "They shrink in a way of self-protection: fight or flight or freeze."

Through art therapy, she's now helping clients find peace and happiness during the pandemic by accessing their creative potential and relaxing their brains.

"We're more able to receive inspiration, we're more able to be playful, we're more able to be in the present moment. and to be here," she said.

Reynolds says you can reduce stress in your life by sewing, scribbling, doodling or cutting out pictures for a collage.

"Things that just help us to remind ourselves that we are alive," she said.

Reynolds also recommends looking at fine art, which she says can be helpful and nurturing.

"So even looking through a book of art images [can help]," she said.

It’s helped therapist Emilie Smith, who says art therapy renews a child-like spirit in us and taps into a completely different part of our brain allowing us to relax and let go of the demands of being perfect.

"Let go of the demands to be perfect, the demands to get it right," Smith said. "There is no perfect in art, there is no right or wrong in art."

There just "is."

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