To experience art therapy, you do not have to be an artist. One of the benefits of art therapy is that creating art, viewing other’s art, or even watching someone bring art to life can help people explore their emotions, cope with stress, work on social skills, develop self-awareness and finally boost self-esteem.
How can art therapy help?
Art therapy integrates psychotherapeutic techniques along with creativity to improve the well-being and mental health. According to the American Art therapy Association, art therapy can be correctly characterized as a manner of approach to mental health which utilizes the process of art created for the purpose of improving the emotional physical and mental wellness of the person.
Amongst the numerous benefits of art therapy, one is that it can allow people to use the creative process to explore themselves, thus gaining personal insights and developing new coping mechanisms.
What are the techniques used in art therapy?
The primary techniques that are used in art therapy are drawing, coloring, painting, collage making, card making etc. When the person concerned makes or creates a piece of art, it allows him or her to explore what they made and why did they make it. By exploring their own art, people can identify themes and conflicts which might be causing upheaval in their day-to-day life.
I am not an artist. How can art therapy help me?
One of the main benefits of art therapy is that there is no need for a person to be artistic or have the artistic ability to take part in art therapy. People from all walks of life can benefit from art therapy. Research has suggested that even just the presence of art can help in boosting the mental health of people.
A study done in 2017 also shows that the presence of art in hospitals led to patients feeling safe.
Who can benefit from art therapy?
Art therapy can be used for the treatment of a variety of mental disorders as well as psychological illnesses. In many cases, art therapy might be used along with other techniques of psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or group therapy.
Certain specific situations where art therapy can be of great help include
- Children suffering from social or behavioral problems at home and/or school.
- Adults or children who have experienced a traumatic event
- Children suffering from learning disabilities
- People experiencing mental health problems
- Adults who are experiencing severe stress
- People suffering from brain injury
Some other mental conditions in which are therapy can be used are:
Where is art therapy conducted?
- Colleges and universities
- Correctional facilities
- Group homes
- Art studios
- Community centers
- Elementary schools as well as high schools
- Private psychologist’s office
- Women shelters
- Wellness Centers
- Senior centers
Most often people wonder how does art therapy differ from any other normal art class. While art class is mainly focused on teaching a specific technique or teaching the paths to reach a specified product, art therapy focuses on letting clients understand their own emotions and inner experiences.
In the case of art therapy, clients are encouraged to make a form of art that expresses what they feel rather than an expression of the world around us.
Specific benefits of art therapy:
Improvement in self management:
Reduce symptoms of depression:
Improves non verbal communication skills
Addressing ones part trauma
Reduced everyday stress
Improvement in the problem solving behavior
Builds self esteem
Limitations of the art therapy
Even though art therapy has a great variety of benefits, some of the research shows that the effectiveness of art therapy can be mixed. In most cases, these studies include a small number of patients or turn out to be inconclusive. Thus, there is a need for further research to explore how and when can art be most beneficial to the patient.
See you in my next blog post