The Textile Arts Blog is a great resource for learning about textiles, but today's post also illustrates the healing power of art: http://http://creativityjourney.blogspot.com/2011/02/1200-stitches-per-square-inch-art
A prison inmate, drug addicted and with no resources, takes apart socks, and using the threads, embroiders them into portraits. Finding solace, inspiration and most importantly, hope, he gets through his prison term and embroidery helps with his healing.
Art has been shown to help heal many hurts, as well as to lower stress. Just cutting up construction paper, or the newspaper, and gluing them to a background can feel like you are a world away from the daily stresses - as long as that critical voice we all hear in our heads is told to stay away! When doodling, or coloring with crayons, our brain stops running all the "have to's and should have's" and we get in touch with a different side of ourselves. This "Art" may not be something to share with anyone else, because it's the process of making it that is valuable, not the result. That voice that says "I'm no good at Art", is what stops us from going to that place of release and renewal. Art needs to be made for the making, not for the showing.
Roy Matterson was able to get through years of prison, and still uses art to deal with his demons.