Painting my way to acceptance

Sophie Morgan - Mermaid

Model, TV presenter and Enable columnist Sophie Morgan has another string to her bow – she’s currently in training to be an art therapist. Sophie tells us how her spinal injury has inspired her to use her great passion, art, to help others on the road to acceptance, healing and happiness.

When I was at school I always loved art classes, to the point that I practically moved into the art department and spent a lot of my free time splashing paint around and “experimenting with expression”, as they say.

I decided to take an A-level in the subject but was always under the impression, the illusion, that my passion for art would always remain a hobby, nothing more. I had been encouraged by my parents and teachers to follow a “more suitable” and “acceptable” career path, so accordingly I – read ‘they’ – had a career in law in mind.

CHANGES

I remember going to collect my exam results and being over the moon that I had the grades to get into law school, but this nagging feeling that I may be making a mistake lingered. Shortly after I received the results I had my accident. That’s when everything changed.

I quickly swapped law school for art school and never looked back. However something had changed in the way that I made art. No longer was it for fun, suddenly I found I had a need for it, a real impulse towards drawing, that seemed completely impulsive and compulsive.

Throughout my rehabilitation and in the years that followed I used art as a catharsis. Through it, I self-medicated almost, and found the tools I needed to be able to adapt and adjust to my disability. If I was having a bad day for example, or old memories of walking were haunting me, I found a release on paper.

For years I used art in this way, to help me cope, but it was only recently I realised what I was doing was essentially art therapy.

LOOKING UP

I noticed how my mood was affected and my whole perception improved when I got creative, which is why I decided that I wanted to help others to find the same tools I had intuitively uncovered. I’m now training to actually be an art therapist. It may be a million miles away from those early legal plans, but now I’ve found a career path I have a true passion for and through which I believe I can make a real difference.

The arts enable us to facilitate healing in ways that speaking therapies can’t, and I know that all of us benefit from using the arts. From people suffering with PTSD to children struggling with expression, the arts give us the means to heal.

Keep up to date with the latest goings on in Sophie’s life at www.sophiemorgan.com

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