Transformational self-portrait mural.

This art therapy activity can be a painting, drawing or collage and involves creating 3 portraits. It is a creative way to help transform pain from trauma into hope for the future. I have used collage for my portrait, using words and images cut out of magazines or newspapers.

Think about a past experience that was traumatic and has shaped you in negative ways. Think about where you are now in your recovery journey, and where you want to be in the future.

Your first portrait is based on the experience that negatively impacted on your self and your life. Think about how you felt when it was happening, your emotions, feelings and bodily sensations. Now create a piece of artwork that depicts your 'self' during that time of trauma. Look for words and pictures that have a real sense of what this negative experience was like in the moment, and how it shaped you.

My first portrait depicts the terrifying emotions of domestic violence. Feeling helpless and hopeless, I had lost my sense of 'self' completely.

Your second portrait is based on your 'self' as you are today. Where are you in your recovery journey? What challenges do you face each day? What things are you doing to help move forward? Is there anything you have discovered about yourself as you heal?

My second piece depicts my feelings of being free from things I thought I would never escape. Finding my true authentic 'self', awakening and learning who I really am. This is hard daily work, and there are still challenges, but focusing on the positive and intensive self-care helps the healing.

The final piece of the mural is a portrait based on your future 'self'. This is not who you are right now, it is who you vision yourself to be in the future. What are your hopes and dreams? What things are you manifesting? Step outside of yourself and visualise yourself walking down the path ahead. What do you see? Peace, gratitude, happiness? Using words and images create a picture that depicts these things.

My final portrait depicts where I am heading. Independent, content and peaceful. I work on using my own vibration to manifest the blessings and abundance I know I deserve. Now I maintain healthy boundaries.

Once you have finished your three portraits, you can arrange them into a mural. Notice the transformation! it is helpful to display these so that you will see them everyday. On those days when you are feeling 'stuck', it helps to focus on brighter days ahead and to remind yourself just how far you have come!