Art unites people. And it brings people closer to themselves. Art always involves emotion. When you are standing in front of a painting or other artistic work, you often recognize something from yourself in it. You feel something, it puts you in touch with a memory... It does something to you.
I am a psychologist so I work with emotions. My specialization is loneliness. My whole practice revolves around people who feel alone in one way or another. I chose this focus because loneliness is at the root of many of our challenges. It is a feeling that often manifests itself when we are in transition. And we almost always are.
Maybe you are a single parent. Or you are in the middle of a divorce. You lost someone. You move to a new country. These are all life changes where loneliness plays a major role. That feeling arises from life questions such as 'what am I doing here?' or 'what next?' But it does not have to be negative. You can also learn to manage it as part of a growth process.
When I graduated as a psychologist in Greece, I was in a relationship that took me to a new place every one or two years. That was inconvenient for my work, but I learned to love the unknown, every new beginning. That's also how I felt when I arrived in the Netherlands more than eight years ago, full of enthusiasm about a new city and all the new possibilities. I did a second master here in Leiden and started my practice, which has now grown to 14 psychologists.
Something we see a lot is that people have become perfectionists. Social media is one of the reasons of course. Society gives us all kinds of messages about how we should look and how we should be in our work and social life. Our self-image and our ambitions don't always make us happier. I say: we should be kinder to ourselves. We're not perfect. And neither is our life.
In addition to my practice, I also have hobbies such as a reading club, a photography club and a walking group. Especially with photography I return to my argument about art. It does not only heal when you look at it. Being creative yourself can also have a therapeutic effect. In this, I also see a solution to loneliness. Expressing yourself creatively is always good for a person, regardless of your level.