Episode 132 Nurturing Your Inner World Through Soul Care™: Interview with Karen Hanlon

Jul 19, 2023

What is Art Therapy and how can individuals explore and communicate their feelings through this therapeutic practice? Can utilizing these creative processes improve mental, emotional, and physical well-being?

MEET Karen Hanlon

Karen is a Certified Art Therapy Practitioner who empowers both children and adults with her Soul Care™ program. Her work has been beneficial for those with developmental delays or autism, and she’s worked with counseling and recovery organizations across the country. Karen has also been actively involved in several community charities, including UPARC, The Salvation Army’s Sallie House, and Grandma’s House of Hope. As an abstract artist and educator, Karen recognizes the critical role creative arts play in personal growth and self-awareness. She resides in Belleair Beach, Florida with her two children.

Find out more at Soul Care and connect with Karen on, TikTok, Instagram & Facebook

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • Who can benefit from Art Therapy? 3:34
  • How to open clients up to using art as a form of therapy 10:15
  • Guided art therapy 17:31

Who Can Benefit From Art Therapy?

  • Understanding that art therapy can come in many different forms
  • Art therapy and journaling
  • What is the process of practicing art therapy
  • Encouraging self-exploration and self-awareness through art

How To Open Clients Up To Using Art As A Form Of Therapy

  • Promoting a sense of accomplishment in clients when utilizing art therapy
  • How to use journaling prompts
  • The importance of reconnecting adults to creative expression
  • A tool for letting go of judgment and fear 

Guided Art Therapy

  • Utilizing essential oils in art therapy
  • How to use journaling to begin art therapy
  • Providing a positive space
  • Positive affirmations and meditation when using art therapy
  • What is Soul Care™?

Connect With Me

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Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Soul Care and connect with Karen on, TikTok, Instagram & Facebook

Transcript

Chris McDonald: Are you ready to learn about an experience that taps into your creative side and brings you calmness, creativity, and a new sense of hope for you or your client? In today's episode, you'll learn how integrating several holistic modalities together will allow you to experience self-reflection, self-love, healing, and peacefulness.

Get ready as you learn about the tools needed for the soulful journey of self discovery in today's episode. This is Holistic Counseling, the podcast for mental health therapists who want to deepen their knowledge of holistic modalities and build their practice with confidence. I'm your host, Chris McDonald, licensed therapist.

I am so glad you're here for the journey.

Welcome to today's episode of the Holistic Counseling Podcast. I know for me, tapping into creative energy helps put me in a flow state where the world around me disappears, and my worries are left behind. Today's guest is Karen Hanlin. She's a certified art therapy practitioner. Who empowers both children and adults through her self-care program.

Her work has been beneficial for those with developmental delays or autism, and she's worked with counseling and recovery organizations across the country. Welcome to the podcast, Karen.

Karen Hanlon: Oh, thank you, Chris. Thanks for having me.

Chris McDonald: And I was wondering if you could share how you got started using art as a holistic modality.

Karen Hanlon: Well, I've always had art in my life most of my life, but going through a personal transformation in my life brought me to have to find new ways of dealing with anxiety, to be honest. And I fell into it honestly by happenstance. And I started taking painting, paint brushes and painting and just releasing my anxiety with painting on a canvas.

Without any kind of thought, I just painted and let go through expression. Found it to be very, very powerful in letting go of things I was dealing with personally. The more I did it, the better I felt. So as time went on, I realized how important this was and I wasn't aware of it at the time until I started doing it myself and, uh, realized the importance of art and right off the bat helping with anxiety.

For sure. So what did you

Chris McDonald: notice?

How

Karen Hanlon: did it help you? Well, it helped me be more in the moment. When we are in, when we're dealing with any kind of change or transformation or anxiety in our life, we are in the future thinking forward and we're in anxiety. So we take the painting and put you more in the moment where you are able to like think in the present moment versus the anxiety that takes over at times.

The more I did it, the more I was in the moment, the more I could think clearly, the clearer I thought, the better decisions I was making as I was going through. What I was going through and I was able to realize the painting was helping me think clearer. So the more I did it, the better I felt like I was becoming in my thoughts.

So do you

Chris McDonald: use other kinds of art besides painting? Um, Um,

Karen Hanlon: I actually do a lot of photography, videography, and again, those two things work well as well. And, uh, and each chance that you can get to be creative really takes you out of the place of fight or flight or anxiety, and it brings you in the moment where you, you're relieved of it.

It's almost like a sense of relief for that time that you're working on a creative endeavor. And it can be any kind of creative endeavor. Um, in my case, I did use a lot of painting and I did use photography and videography to help me found it to be very beneficial. So

Chris McDonald: what kind of people have you used art

Karen Hanlon: with?

Once I developed this first for myself and the program I developed was more than just painting, I realized the, uh, importance of journaling as well. Another form of expression. I took them, kind of married them together and, um, put together my own program that I was able to put out there and work with not only people my age, but I realized.

Children really needed this. And I'm a teacher by trade. I'm an elementary school teacher. So I found myself working with my own children as they were going through some difficult times and was using the art and the, uh, journaling with them as well and found them at their age to truly benefit from this.

And once I saw that, I was realizing this is any age, this is every age. Anybody can benefit from this. Um, not just the painting, but even the journaling, both of them being almost equally as important.

Chris McDonald: So you think those are equally important to use? Both. And, and

Karen Hanlon: I used both of them during my own journey, specifically almost the same.

Um, I painted as much as I journaled. And when I did that, along with the journaling, I found the, uh, relief. It's like taking bricks off of me and feeling a sense of true relief because it was taking it out of my body and putting it on a paper or putting it on a canvas. So when you can take those things out and put it on something, You're not carrying it with you.

And the more I did it, the better I actually became at it. And uh, when I felt a sense of pressure, I would release the pressure through journaling or painting or both. That's beautiful

Chris McDonald: though to think about that not carrying it anymore and putting that burden down. And

Karen Hanlon: that's so, and it, I found that to be just, again, going through the process, I wasn't realizing what I was truly doing.

I just knew I felt better every time I did it. And the more I did it, the less anxiety I had. And I thought there's something to this. And even though I'm not necessarily an artist per se, I found the benefits of just a paintbrush to a canvas can relieve stress. Just that alone or a pen to paper and writing out your thoughts and how you feel without having to say it just is so profound in how it can affect

Chris McDonald: you.

Have you used art in journaling with adults as

Karen Hanlon: well? Yes. Now I've worked with workshops. After creating this for myself, I put it out there into a, a workshop to help others, which was also helpful to me as well. I found this in recovery groups. I was doing this as a workshop in recovery groups, and the profound effects I would see with the people that were in my workshop.

Was undeniable and they were able to come into the moment, be present, let go of judgment of what they're painting. Cuz I obviously led them into not worrying. This isn't about what your painting looks like, it's about letting go. They were able to fully be in that moment and release what they were caring with them.

That burden was let go at that canvas. And in that journal. And that's when I realized I've gotta keep doing this. There's something to this. And, uh, the continuation of the process, I just added essential oils to it, meditation, and I added even affirmations. So it became more of a formula, a process, a step-by-step process.

I stuck with every time I did a workshop and it worked almost. There is no time. It hasn't worked. Actually, every time I've done this with a group of 40 or one person, it has had a profound effect.

Chris McDonald: Wow. That's amazing. What is your process as far as the art? Is it just, here's a paintbrush and canvas go?

Karen Hanlon: No, it's actually farthest from the, that is, Well, that's what most people are scared about.

That's what people think of, right? And they do think of that. And I think I've had the hardest time trying to break through that barrier when they think of this. Like, I can't, I can't sit by a canvas and do anything. I'm a terrible, I have to re remind them. This is a tool and it's not about your. Your ability to even write or even to paint.

This is a tool we're using. So when I came up with the other pieces to the process of painting your Soul, I came up with something that was going to help bring them down incrementally, letting go of anxiety. By the time they hit that canvas, they don't even realize they're painting. They're so free. So when I started this, again, it started with just using.

Essential oils just to release some stress. So, so it starts with that. Yeah. Yes. And then we go right into journaling. How do you feel in this moment that takes you down another notch? Feeling a little bit better, a little less anxious. And then we, I have the reading affirmations. Positive affirmations helps rewire your mind so you're not thinking negatively before you paint.

Most importantly to. Let go of that. I can't paint thought. So each of these takes a certain amount of time, and then I guide them through a meditation that takes them directly into painting. So they don't even have to think about what they're going to paint. They won't know. This is how they're able to let go without having to think about it.

So when they do that, they're able to paint from the soul. The heart comes out on the canvas and it, you just like have a conversation and you're able to see a very authentic part of yourself through color on a canvas. And it's a beautiful way to connect and, um, gain that connection. And so the parts that I use to get you there are only there to like, I'm holding your hand, I'm gonna guide you.

You're not going to have any issue when you get to that canvas, you're gonna feel a sense of freedom and peace. Joy and then people leave the situation going, oh my goodness, I feel euphoric. That's the word I hear is euphoric. The journaling continues even after they're done painting, so they have true time to really write out what they think and feel and get it out in many different ways throughout the timeframe that I'm working with on whether I'm working individually or whether in a group, and they, their journaling as a follow-up continues with them even after they leave me.

The journaling and the painting, so it's not just a one and done it. It gets them into the understanding this is a new way I can relieve my stress when it comes up and it's not just a one and done. It shows them a new way. So how does it continue? I. Well, when I'm in a, whether I'm in a workshop or not, they have a guide that they go home with or I show them, you know, we talk about it in a workshop or if they're, uh, a one-on-one, I give them a follow up that takes them home so that they know how to follow up and teaching 'em the value of journaling on a daily basis, whether they paint every day or not, but journaling.

Every day, even if it's for just a few minutes, really helps take what's here and get it out on paper. So they're not caring. The goal is to not have them carry the burdens because they become too big and they become overwhelmed. And so the journaling helps get it on paper and it helps with the insights.

Later, after you've connected in a way through painting on a canvas, you have a connection with yourself. Now the journaling helps you keep the connection going. It helps you stay in that place of being there where you, you're. You're feeling the sense of connection where so many of us aren't. We're walking around so disconnected social media doesn't help.

So this is a real way to connect in that journaling continues a connection. Yeah.

Chris McDonald: So what about people that say that I don't have any talent, that I can't do this. This is for somebody else,

Karen Hanlon: not me. Right. And those are the ones I love to work with the most because those are the ones that walk out with the most profound change cuz it takes them from thinking, I can't do something.

Two. Oh my goodness. I did it. And not only did I do it, I learned something about myself. It takes the fear out of it and they're able to go in and say, okay, I'm gonna try something new that I don't think I can do. And it changes something within them when they try this and they don't think they can do it because they realized, wow, I did this.

I can do other things. I got past this hurdle. I can overcome other hurdles. So it's almost like a teaching tool. Yeah. Of open the door and see what happens. So, And so that's how I bring it to them. And I say, this is going to be something. You're not going to know what you're painting. That's the best part.

You're going to be surprised with what you paint. If you let go and connect deep enough, you're going to find the most incredible thing in front of you that you will not be able to deny. And is

Chris McDonald: there prompts with a journaling too, or is, how does that work?

Karen Hanlon: Yeah, the prompts are yes, when I'm with a one-on-one or whether, whether I'm with a workshop, I prompt them initially early on prior to painting, writing down just how they feel to get them used to just writing how they feel.

So many times people don't even do that, so I get them used to that after the painting. The same thing. How do you feel? They look at the beginning and they see the end. And the huge difference from the first journal till after painting is night and day. They journal a boatload after they've finished painting cuz they've learned so much in that timeframe about themselves they did not know before.

And they go back and look at their first center and go, wow, that was big. That was a big change I made just in my thinking about not being able to do something I'm not good at. And that that's a profound moment in someone's life when they can discover that. I don't have to be good at something to try it and understand the value in it.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. So it's almost like getting past people's defenses, cuz I imagine there's childhood wounds there too. Oh, absolutely. Cause I think what, what age is it? I think that they say that people stop creating Right Art and Oh,

Karen Hanlon: in elementary school. Yeah. And there was a point in time I was at, worked out of Laguna Art Gallery doing this, and you would not believe the amount of adults that walked in just to want to.

Paint on a canvas. They haven't done it since elementary school. And they sat there like almost shaky, like, well, I, I don't know what to paint. I said, just, just start painting the release on their faces, like watching them one after another. They shut down in elementary school. That's the last time they had any creative anything.

And it made me sad because they just needed to continue and most of them haven't. So I'm trying to reconnect people with an artistic expression where they are able to feel free enough to do it, whether they're good or not. And the line out the door to the gallery was from one end to the other, just to paint.

And it was, it blew me away going, these people just wanna have that feeling and it, they don't care if they're good or bad. And so I did that for. Couple years, and it was pretty amazing to see people just wanna have that chance of feeling like they did when they were little before someone told them they couldn't do it before someone said it's bad or you're not good at so, so we have a whole world out there that's walking around the same way.

I hate to say it. And so they all come into my workshop, well, I can't paint. And so we start with what you just said. It's like, no, this isn't about that. This is about letting go of judgment and your fear. That's all this is doing. And once you can do that, you can do anything. Nothing can stop you once

Chris McDonald: you, so, so that transfers globally to other things?

Karen Hanlon: Absolutely. Cuz it's a tool to help you get over that first hump. And that is a tool to help you with that. It's not about what you're painting. You just opened up to something you did not want to do, you didn't feel good about, and you did it anyway. And the, the, the effects of that with every person I've ever worked with has been profound.

Now I will go back and look at them years later and see what they're doing. And they're trying new things. They're doing things they didn't think they could do. All from that simple act, picking up a paintbrush and thinking, I'm not good at this, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Yeah. And not expecting anything and letting go of the fear that comes through their head.

This has done that for so many people and I just wanna get it out there in a bigger way. I want more people to feel this way because it can change their trajectory. They'll try new things and can you imagine what that would do? Yeah. So many people attempting things they don't think they're good at.

Yeah. Cause

Chris McDonald: I think people get held back right by their limiting beliefs and not trusting themselves to try other things. And that, and of course, that was what leads them to mental health

Karen Hanlon: therapy. Right. Valuing your own artwork as you paint is helping you connect the beauty within yourself. You're able to flow with who you are and bring a connection back to yourself.

It's a visible way to document your self-care journey. That's what this does in this moment in time. You stopped and you listened. That's wonderful. Yeah. And that's what we're, uh, all needing to do right now is stop and listen to hear right here,

Chris McDonald: to get back to, to ourselves and that creative side too.

Cause I think that the listeners, a lot of our holistic therapists, but I think that a lot of 'em are interested in finding other ways to reach clients. And I think you're right that art is one way, create any kind of creative expression, gets into a different part of the brain too, doesn't

Karen Hanlon: it? Yes, it does.

And um, I do work out of a counselor's office doing this in tandem with the counselors. And what they have found and how they're using this or me, or with my process, is a tool to help them enhance what they're doing with their client. So not only do I do this on my own, but the counselors are using this as a tool.

To help open their clients up even more so that they can get the results they're looking for in a deeper way. And this, this has been profoundly different and changed in a counselor's office I'm working at presently. It helps give them a sense of autonomy and it gives them a sense of control as well.

And it gives them a chance to do something where they. Help find their own answers too. They're not just handing it over to somebody to do it all. They're taking some ownership. And this is, this helps them take some ownership cuz they're looking at the painting, they're looking at their journaling and taking that ownership for themselves.

And that gives you a little bit more control where you're not feeling like you're out of control. And when you have more control, you feel you are at peace. And you feel like you're a participant in this journey to help you know your mental health. You're a participant. Yeah. You're not just letting someone else do it all.

You're participating in it, and that's what this helps do.

Chris McDonald: Sounds like an empowering thing, a process too.

Karen Hanlon: It it is empowering and I think that's what I've noticed with everyone I've worked with is. They do feel empowered with it, and they're coming up with their own answers when they're journaling, and I would have people call me with these epiphanies all the time, literally over the last 10 years.

I can't tell you how many people call me or they'll connect or email me and say, I had this epiphany. I cannot. Believe this just happened. This was life changing for me and it started when I painted and sh they, I more people doing that all the time now cuz it's been out there a little bit. And the, they're finding their own answers from here.

Just like the Wizard

Chris McDonald: of Oz. The answers have been there all along, right?

Karen Hanlon: Yes, exactly. The answers have been there all along and the therapists are there to help this, but you've gotta participate too. And I think it's what needs to happen out there. It's not just one thing. There's many things and I think being a real participant in this, Really important.

It's what I've noticed has been helpful. So what are,

Chris McDonald: just to get more detailed, like I know you said essential oils, so what kinds of essential oils does that matter? It

Karen Hanlon: really doesn't matter. I've used a variety of different kinds. A lot of it is just preference. I try to use something that is, I give them a choice.

If they're in a workshop with me, they'll have a choice. But typically, if not given a choice, they're with lavender being one of the most calming lavenders, kind of worldwide known as the most calming kind of, uh, essential oil. But it's also, most people don't have any kind of problem with lavender. But I've used citrus as well.

Yes. So that the oils really also open you up for creativity. I've researched that and they are interesting. Very much used to open up, not only less of the anxiety, but. Open you up creatively. This is why I use it first and it kind of calms you, but opens you and people love the smell of it and

Chris McDonald: what's the next step.

So, so it's essential oil and then what's

Karen Hanlon: next? Mm-hmm. Yeah. They go into, uh, journaling right away they're feeling so they, they, they calm me effects it. Essential oil releases that little bit of anxiety so they can write and the journal how they're feeling. Some people will write a page, some people will write two words.

Some people will have a hard time writing one word, and that's okay. But the fact is that they're doing it and they, they'd set aside some time to do that and I, I allow them the time and show them, right, you're just writing just what you're feeling, you're getting out on paper. And, uh, once they do that, um, they feel a sense of relief.

So even those two steps, Make a huge difference before they paint. Yeah, just those two right there alone, you're already halfway there and they're already feeling like they could paint. But I give them another step, which is the self positive affirmations, and we talk about the value in speaking positively to yourself, offsetting the negative self-talk.

We have all around us on a daily basis, including our own. I have them read through every single line, envisioning themself in that positive space, and they have them say it to themselves. And

Chris McDonald: what are some of the affirmations you used? Oh goodness.

Karen Hanlon: I have my little thing here. I should have it, it, it just, I am enough.

I am worthy. I am strong. I, I'm capable. I can do this. Those are kinds of things. They're very simple. They're nothing. Yeah. Really. Difficult, but it's just a reminder. I'm strong. I can do this. I am enough. And it sets the mood. So here you are saying these beautiful things about yourself and you're like, wow, I'm already feeling better.

You're sitting there going, I feel this weight off of me now. And now I'm feeling a little bit better about my myself. And then you're ready. You're ready for the meditation, which is either I guide you through it or it's a recording depending on where you are with us. The meditation's about 10 minutes, and it's a beautiful.

Visual journey that guides you into the preparation to paint. And it's all about self-love. The, the meditation just reminds you how amazing you are. It's a, it's a 10 minute journey to self-love, so you're feeling really, really good about yourself. By the end of that meditation and you're almost floating.

So by the time you pick up a paintbrush, it's already, you're already ready for it because it prepares you. Yeah. I even have them come up with the first color they're gonna use before they paint, so they don't even have to worry about that. And it teaches them let go and trust, let go and trust, and that's all they have to do is let go and trust, and then they're able to.

Take the freedom and just do that first stroke. And then when they get going, they can't stop. And they paint. And they paint and they paint and then they feel the difference and they'll go at it for about 30, 45

Chris McDonald: minutes. So is the meditation, you said, does it prompt them to paint something in particular or?

Karen Hanlon: Yes. No, it doesn't. Prompts you. Were not the, the goal of meditation is to get them to let go of any kind of preconceived idea of anything. They're just letting go. So when they pick up the paintbrush, it gives them the freedom of just painting with what they like, whatever strokes they like, however they want to, in whatever way they want to.

They have the freedom and there's no judgment, and there's nothing that it has to look like. They're just letting go through painting and they're feeling comfortable about it now because I've helped them get there. My goal was to get them comfortable with this, and that's where they are at this point.

And they're not thinking about painting a brick house or a duck or a dog. They're literally just doing the strokes. And each stroke is another piece of letting go. Another stroke is letting go a color. Lets go. A color brings feeling. So you're in your feels and you're in the present moment. And you're believing in yourself again cuz you're doing something you felt was something you couldn't do.

And you have a new belief system going now this is where the rewire happens and you're deciding, wow, this is fun. And when I feel good and I'm in a sense of peace and joy, I don't have those other things bothering me right now. And I feel really good right now when I remember this feeling. Cause this feels delightful and I wanna keep feeling this way and I'm gonna keep painting cuz it feels good.

And when you feel that. All the other things that they've been carrying. Kind of just dissolve. Yeah. So

Chris McDonald: let go and trust.

Karen Hanlon: Let go and trust your instincts. Let go. What color comes to mind. Let go and just be in the moment of freedom between you and the canvas and the paintbrush is what I call the heart connector.

It just connects your heart to the canvas. So your heart's coming out, your feelings, the feel that you have comes through that paintbrush. And that's the tool, that's the magic tool. Yes. And the pen for their journal. And when they are finished with that, they go right into the journaling after, and that's when they really let go because they're like, wow, I had this experience.

This felt so good, it's so cathartic, and this undeniable feeling of peace came over me. And they're writing what they feel now after having finished it. And, and they're seeing the difference that it made. And it takes 'em a while to process what happened. So the journaling continues for days, weeks and years.

Hopefully. Hopefully it never stops because it is very healthy to continue journaling every day, so it gets them into a new habit of something that's helpful, that is very, uh, beneficial. Yes, I know you

Chris McDonald: named this process Soul

Karen Hanlon: Care Pain. Your Soul is the name of the, the actual process and the Soul Care is the boss that I created, which is really my business.

The workshop that I do, I kind of put it into a box where you can actually have it all in one kit. So I call that soul care soul. Okay. And why Soul Care? Soul care, it's just a, it's because it's not just painting. It's, you're taking care of your heart and soul there. It's, it's more than everything. It's, it's more than painting.

It's everything. It's, you're taking self-care. To another level. So, um, that's why I called it soul care, but it's really painting your soul. Is it? It's the process that I created is genuinely painting your soul. And it really, and the product itself is, is just that in a box. Everything I do with people in workshops or one-on-one, I formulated it.

And truly wrote the direction such that you can do this without me. I'm in there in a meditation. I'm in there to walk you through the steps. The directions are perfectly usable without me. And you even have a QR code that takes you to the meditation and it really, um, I can't tell you the amount of people that has helped.

I just had a doctor last month who is very high up in the emergency medicine sector and has had a tremendous amount of stress due to, um, you know, family members and, and loss and so forth. And literally he used the box and two hours later he said, I can't tell you what this has done for me. This has just blown me away.

It blew away. The next day he wrote, I feel joy. I got a text. I feel joy. Thank you so much forever helping me. And it was literally handed him a box and he did it on his own without me. Which is really a really a cool thing because you know you wanna get this out there in a big way, and I can do workshops, I can be there, but as one person, I'm trying to think of other ways to have this, where you can open up your own kit and do this on your own terms with your, by yourself, with your family member, with your partner.

Grief, grief and loss. You know this, in this situation, he was dealing with that and it was tremendously helpful and I saw the difference. He wrote to me the difference, and this is coming from a physician, I. Who has dealt with a lot of goodness, a lot of. Difficult working in the hospital. He's got a lot of life and death on his shoulders and he found this to be incredibly, um, helpful.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. So what would you say if therapists were interested in using some expressive arts like this and what would be a good step to take to get So, cuz it does take some courage, doesn't it? To teach people these kind of modalities and

Karen Hanlon: Yes, it does take courage and it does. I think having this, I think really every therapist's office should have.

And you know, our art person. Because what I've noticed in working in the counseling's office I'm at, I have worked with so many age diff age ages and seen them go so much deeper because of the art they're doing with me. By the time they go back into the counselor's office, they've done half the work, believe it or not, through the art expression, and having a certified.

Art therapy practitioner, art therapist will help any counseling office with not. The burden isn't just on the counselor. This really does help in tandem. It is a profound tool that absolutely helps the client go deeper when they're not able to talk about it, and most sometimes can't, and this helps them to get it out.

And then conversation can happen even sometimes with just painting. So the painting and the journal can go back to the chapter. So you

Chris McDonald: see this as getting more integrated too with other art, art

Karen Hanlon: practitioners? Yes. I see this as going mu on a much larger scale because even in the, and I've done this for about 10 years, um, but because the world has changed so much, we're, we're looking for more integrative kinds of things and more holistic kinds of ways.

So, Of getting back to balance. And this is a way, and it not only is a way it works, it, it's worked for me in my own life and it has worked for every client and every person I've ever worked with come out of that place of difficulty and transform to, or come out of it and become what they're looking to become or let go of what they're meant to let go of.

It's really designed for what they need to have happen. It happens. It's very personal. So you may come to me and need this thing to happen and it would happen for you, but not for the next person cuz they have another need. So it's really personalized for what you need it for and that is what you will see come out of this.

And in a counseling, in a counseling office, they have a specific need for that client to open up in a certain way. That's what will happen. Because everybody's on the same page and, you know, but it's, it's very personalized and you'll see from one person to the next, they're gonna have very different experiences with it.

And I can see

Chris McDonald: this being beneficial for, cause I see. I'm a clinical supervisor and I help other therapists get their full licensure. And many struggle with clients that don't talk, or kids that are just shrugging their shoulders and aren't engaged in the process.

Karen Hanlon: I, I've had that and I am an educator. I used to teach elementary school and I used to, um, I took that part in with me as well as this.

And I work with children at this office that I've realized has just what you described. They don't wanna talk. They don't wanna ex they really are shut down. They're already shut down. And I also work with, uh, children with autism and they have a real hard time expressing, and the one thing they got got through to that was painting and the, the autistic.

Beautiful, autistic, uh, young adults that I've worked with have come back time and time again with growth and expression. This gave them their language. They needed to talk and this, so I was able to get through with that and I realized, I can do this. It's just they need the language. They need their language, their way so they can feel a sense of power when, how they express, and this is what this did for them.

And then I used it with all ages after that. And I went down to ages four. I've worked with age four with this, and the, the parent to this day is one of my biggest advocates because I've changed her daughter's life at age four, who shut down, had, um, certain kinds of, uh, limiting things that she wasn't able to do and her self-confidence.

Even at age four, this turned the corner for her. That's amazing and it brought, yeah, it really is. And so I think because of so many positive experiences, I'm really believing that there's a place for this in the world where I feel it can help so many more people. And my goal is to get it out there in a bigger way.

And it's, you know, it, it's a, it's so simple when you look at it when you're just doing these five steps, but it's doing it in that order and then being able to know you can let go of your fear, let go of your judgment and try something new. Nothing but good comes from this absolutely. Every single time no one has left with a negative.

Like, oh, this was not one in my entire 10 years of doing this. They've all come out of this going, this has been life changing for me. Life changing.

Chris McDonald: So what's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you? Oh,

Karen Hanlon: I have a website called uh, www painting your soul.com. And on my website you will see all the different, uh, ages.

I've worked recently see the workshops, but you'll, uh, be able to book a workshop with me or if you wanted to order the product, the product is on there for you to order as well, which is what I'm talking about in a box, which is what I have now at the counseling office I work out of. And what I actually.

Have been selling on their own. You can go online and get it through my website. Okay.

Chris McDonald: Well, thanks for coming on the podcast, Karen. You're welcome.

Karen Hanlon: This was my pleasure. It was. It was wonderful. Thank you so much for having me.

Chris McDonald: Yes. And if you're a new listener to this podcast, I wanna say welcome as a listener, you have access to my free nine part email course.

How to build confidence as a holistic therapist. In this course, you'll explore different holistic modalities, how to boost your confidence and how to manifest your practice. You'll also get bonuses, including a free script to teach a yoga asana and journaling prompts to guide you through enhance your holistic journey today.

Go do holistic counseling podcast.com. Scroll down and enter your name and email address today. And once again, this is Chris McDonald's sending each one of you much light and love. Till next time, take care. The information in this podcast is for general educational purposes only and is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are giving legal, financial counseling, or any other kind of professional advice.

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