Self Compassion Art Directive| Creativity in Therapy

Self-compassion, acceptance, and loving yourself are so important to mental health and self-esteem. Unfortunately, many people try to seek this acceptance and validation from other people instead of first finding it within themselves.

The last blog post shared some ideas for addressing the Inner Critic that voices self-criticism and makes us feel not good enough. I wanted to follow this up with a quick post about a therapy activity using quotes and art to help clients focus on self-compassion.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, love and romantic relationships will be on many people’s minds, whether they have love from someone special, are wishing that they did, or are working on not relying on it. So, instead, let’s shift the focus away from getting love from others and focus on love from within.

In putting this activity together, I asked therapist Miranda Dooley, LMFT-Associate for help and she contributed the list of quotes. Miranda sometimes uses quotes in therapy to help clients see another perspective or find the words to express their thoughts and feelings. She shared, “My affinity for quotes goes back as far as I can remember. I have found them to be therapeutic in their own right. In particular, I just love the way they have the power to heal and to motivate, to inspire reflection, and to be a source of strength.”

Art Directive

Review the quotes about self-compassion, love, and self-acceptance to find one that resonates with you or choose another quote that you know. Use your quote as the starting point for an art piece or personal affirmation card.

You can download the list of quotes below. We have two versions – one is a list of the quotes and one is images that Miranda created. Click on the image to open the PDF files.

Self-Compassion Quotes
Self-Compassion Quotes

This art piece can be a helpful reminder to practice a more loving and compassionate mindset to oneself, so clients may want to keep the art in a journal or place it somewhere else that they will be able to see it for a helpful reminder.

Below is my self-compassion art piece that I did in my altered book. On the left side of one page I did some journal writing about my own Inner Critic thoughts. I chose a few of the self-compassion quotes that I feel I need to focus on in my life and painted around them. For me, the process of painting and integrating the quotes into an art piece was a very meditative experience and allowed me to spend time thinking about how I can live with more self-compassion and love. I also love having these quotes in my altered book so that I can see them again when I look through the book.

Did you try the activity? What were your thoughts and how did your clients respond? Share your comments below!


Thanks again to Miranda Dooley, LMFT-Associate for her contribution to the post. Miranda is a psychotherapist in Austin, TX who works with teens, young adults, and families. For more inspiring quotes, you can follow her Instagram @mirandadooleymft. You can find out more about her practice on her Psychology Today profile.


Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR-BC is an art therapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, teens, and families. For more information about individual therapy, child and teen counseling, family therapy, teen group therapy, and art therapy services, please visit: www.therapywithcarolyn.com.

This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in child and family therapy, art therapy, or play therapyArt therapy requires a trained art therapist.

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