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Two Alums Discover A Unique Way To Cope With Anxiety Through Art

Originally posted on Konbini.com

About 40 million adults suffer from the symptoms that come with anxiety. Anyone who has ever felt anxious knows how much that feeling completely stinks.

Of course, there are degrees of anxiety that can run the gamut from just a little nervous energy to feeling like you’re on the brink of death. Either way, none of those feelings are fun. It’s even harder trying to explain to others exactly what’s wrong, right?

But what if you could, quite literally, put your finger or whole hand, on something, that can help cure your anxiety?

After intense and advanced study, research, and personal experiences, SVA graduates Rinat Sherzer and Rodrigo Muñoz found a way to make anxiety tangible.

Sherzer and Muñoz call their company and unique approach to helping with anxiety It Makes Sense. As a means of therapy, people with anxiety are able to anonymously go through a process that will make them feel all the feelings in a really satisfying way.

This therapy is only six simple steps. Here goes:

1. People are presented with six different textures: cotton balls, rubber bands, leather, sandpaper, fur and glass;
2. They have to close their eyes and relax;
3. Upon touching all the textures they have to choose one;
4. They then have to determine how they feel touching that texture and write those feelings down anonymously online;
5. It Makes Sense hands in all the written down feelings to an artist from Creatives Without Borders;
6. The artist transforms those feelings into a piece of art, thus making it tangible.

This dynamic duo created this new-age therapy through trial and error. After a series of workshops, each focusing on one of the five senses, they discovered the sense of touch was best to help treat feelings of anxiety.

Those who suffer anxiety, particularly if they have been victims of physical abuse, tend to doubt their feelings, thus feeling less pain. The unfortunate aspect is they also feel less pleasure. It Makes Sense allows people to feel pleasure again. Muñoz says:

“If you learn to relate with your own body you can find a lot of good feedback.”

One participant touched a cotton ball and felt incredible joy remembering herself as a child playing dress-up with her sister. Upon seeing the illustration from the artist, she felt even more healed, now able to hold and touch her happy feelings whenever she wants.

Abbi Klein, a therapist at Community Access, was a major help in getting It Makes Sense to, well… make sense to the creators. Through her work with patients, Klein believes the illustrations are a particularly important part of the healing process.

The team points out that the healing is not only for the person receiving the illustration but for the artist too.

A magical moment happens when an artist who doesn’t even know the person or their name, brings a person’s story to life. Patients have even remarked that, although the artist had never seen pictures of them, they drew illustrations that tended to look like the person as a child.

Most importantly, though, the creative team does not want you to think they’ve gone and cured anxiety. “We realize we’re not going to cure anxiety, we’re just going to learn to relate to it in a different way,” Sherzer and Muñoz tell Konbini.

They also note that this different way of relating to anxiety is also a fun and pleasurable therapy. No medicine. No appointments. No hassle. No fees…for now.

The pair hopes to keep It Makes Sense a non-profit organization and pay the artists through donations.

(1, 2) Pool and Boat illustrations by Jess Suttner; (3) Feather illustration by Francisco Galárraga
136 W 21st St,
5th Fl.
New York, NY 10011
(212) 592–2205