In the Bleak Midwinter

Express your post-holiday anxiety with counselor Kara Ashley-Gilmore.

Express your post-holiday anxiety with counselor Kara Ashley-Gilmore.

After January 1, with its nerve-wracking but somehow exhilarating pressures of self-renewal, there’s an interval of icy pause. The question looms: what now? And the answers can seem as elusive as spring.

Every Wednesday, Kara Ashley-Gilmore of Mountain Creative Arts Counseling in Hendersonville leads a low-cost 90-minute anxiety-support group. The art therapist instructs her students in simple creative projects, no artistic skill required — “if you can cut, paste, and hold a utensil, you can do them,” she said in an interview in Bold Life  last year.

Ashley-Gilmore also uses breathing and meditation exercises in the class. “The group sessions are structured,” she explains in the article. “By connecting with other people who are experiencing similar issues, members feel less isolated by their symptoms. … There’s a different lesson each week, along with discussions and the simple art project … which helps to integrate the lesson.”

She also notes: “At the beginning of each class there’s a ‘studio agreement.’ The group [must approach] art for the process, not for the final project. No comments or judgments are to be made about your own or someone else’s artwork. This eliminates the stress of any critique.”

Class resumes this week. “We will continue every Wednesday for the foreseeable future,” says Ashley-Gilmore.

January 11 and every Wednesday: 6:30-8pm, $10, 307 North Main St., Suite 10. 828-595-3847.


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