Healing art

Jodee Smith

photo by vic cantu

Ever have times where you feel burdened with emotions that you just can’t deal with? We all do. Buried anger, frustration and guilt can eat at our cores and make living particularly hard. Chico’s Jodee Smith is a certified expressive-arts therapist whose classes aim to help people release their feelings in healthy ways through the arts. Her students use drawing or painting as means for shedding their emotional chains. Visit www.innerartstherapy.com to find out more about Smith and her classes, and contact her at jodeeinnerarts@gmail.com or 410-2567.

What is the goal with your classes?

I work on self-actualization to help people have more self love and get in touch with their inner child. I want them to honor themselves more and be more positive. I help unclog their emotional pipes to fulfill their full potential. But if they have really deep issues, they may need a clinical counselor.

Can you describe a typical class?

We sit in chairs in a circle and introduce ourselves using funny movement games to loosen up. Then I have them close their eyes and lead them in guided imagery to the colors or shapes that represent their mood, be it playful, angry, etc. I have them create these emotions visually using pastels, water paints, clay and even magazine collages. They then share their experiences and we all give our input.

What attracted you to this work?

I’ve always been interested in personal and spiritual growth because it’s a part of who we are. We all have egos and personalities, but we’re also a part of the divine. When I was completing my master’s degree, I studied the expressive-arts angle, which put everything together. We don’t deal too well with emotions in America, and we can’t grow until we let them out.

Did you have any mentors?

A big influence on me was the 1940s American psychologist Carl Rogers, who coined the person-centered approach. I trained with his daughter Natalie. Another is Lucia Capacchione, who wrote the book Recovery of Your Inner Child. I’ve taken her workshops, and she’s inspired me to understand that the inner child never dies but needs to be nurtured to mature.

Where do you teach?

I sometimes teach through the CARD [Chico Area Recreation District] center, but mostly at Marleau Peterson’s Healing Arts Center in Chico, where the classes are more in-depth. I’m taking sign-ups for my next class, Recovery of the Inner Child, tentatively scheduled for April 26.