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Mindfulness-based art therapy

Mindfulness based art therapy

Mindfulness based art therapy

Mindfulness-based art therapy is the most promising of all art therapy encompasses the benefits of art therapy as well as mindfulness

Art therapy is using the techniques of art to understand the thought processes and deep-rooted feelings of a person. Art therapy is for everyone. One does not need to have an artistic inclination to be part of or enjoy the benefits of art therapy. Art therapy most often uses techniques like painting, drawing, coloring, sculpting, dancing as well as writing to understand and make sense of the emotional turmoil in the person seeking mental well-being.

Recently there is a new branch of art therapy that has come up. It is called mindfulness-based art therapy. This art therapy technique focuses on integrating the practice of mindfulness therapy techniques along with art therapy. This combinatorial therapy is primarily based on mindfulness teaching, the sensitive exploration of the artwork created by the person as well as guided meditation. Mindfulness-based art therapy is generally conducted either in an individual session or in groups.

What is mindfulness?

The process of mindfulness originated during the Buddhist practice and mainly hones on the awareness of one’s emotions, the physical sensations in one’s body as well as their consciousness. Mindfulness is the ability of humans to be completely present in the moment, being aware of where they are and what they’re doing and not to be overly reactive or get overwhelmed by everything that’s going on around them.

Mindfulness is something that all humans possess naturally. However, it is easily available when practiced on a regular basis. The primary goal of mindfulness is to light up the inner workings of our emotional, physical as well as mental processes.

Understanding the benefits of art therapy

What is mindfulness-based art therapy?

The concept of the mindfulness-based art therapy was first introduced formally by a psychologist and writer Lauri Rappaport in the year 2009 in her book named, ‘mindfulness and the art therapies’. In the the simplest form, mindfulness-based art therapy focuses on combining the benefits of mindfulness training like meditation into the art therapy framework.

Mindfulness-based art therapy has gained recognition over time as a method for improvement in psychology. However, research-based evidence is still needed, specifically with respect to the studies focusing on both treatment as well as control groups (for the purpose of confirmation that mindfulness-based art therapy works better than the placebo therapy).

Mindfulness-based therapies are also known as focusing-oriented art therapy. Referring to the emphasis on focus as a part of the whole experience, Rappaport proposed the concept of mindfulness-based art therapy

What happens in a mindfulness-based art therapy session?

In mindfulness therapy techniques, art materials are used as a conduit to understand, discover and satiate the curiosity of the inner workings of the mind in a safe and supportive environment.

Participants are encouraged to have a non-judgmental and kind attitude towards their own creations. It has been observed that the participants who showed the maximum improvement in therapy were the ones who could connect to their inner self during the session. Basically, mindfulness-based art therapy focuses on connecting the person’s creative imagination to his or her body and allows the understanding of the feelings that one cannot express in words.

What are the effects of mindfulness-based art therapy?

There are numerous benefits to using mindfulness therapy techniques. The primary effects of mindfulness-based art therapy are as follows:

  • Improved mood
  • Improvement in self-esteem
  • Deeper insight into one’s own self
  • Reduction in stress as well as anxiety
  • Increased fulfillment in personal relationships
  • Development of compassion in the participant
The ability to bring awareness to what you are experiencing by your senses or your thoughts and emotions is being mindful. Recent research shows that when a person trains his or her brain to be mindful, they cause remodeling of their brain structure.

Mindfulness-based art therapy has shown a huge promise in healing participants who suffer from the following:

Mindfulness-based art therapy has also been used with participants who suffer from physical illnesses or chronic pain. It has been observed to cause psychological benefits to the patients, like those who suffer from coronary artery disease and different forms of cancer. Mindfulness-based art therapy has been observed to improve the quality of life in such patients and reduce the stress levels.

Specific psychological benefits of mindfulness-based art therapy:

A few of the specific psychological benefits of mindfulness therapy techniques include the following:

  • Improvement in the quality of life
  • Improvement in psychological stability of the participant
  • Improvement in brain patterns showcasing a focus in consultative attention
  • More developed grey matter in certain areas of the brain
  • Reduction in cognitive avoidance which causes participants to become less of their of what their thought process is when they are experiencing any kind of psychological distress
  • Improvement in the intuition capabilities of the participants and their trust in themselves
  • Increased awareness of their emotional behavior
  • Increased sense of focus, control and ability to talk about their inner feelings
  • Ability to talk about their abstract feelings
  • Increase in their self-acceptance as well as the self-esteem
  • Improvement in attention span
  • Improved awareness of the underlying issues the participant might face

I am a huge advocate of art therapy. However, mindfulness-based art therapy, if practiced in the correct manner can be more beneficial to the participant compared to just art therapy. Mindfulness-based therapies do not require interaction with a psychologist (art psychotherapy). This technique can be practiced in the safety and comfort of your own home and will leave you feeling better about yourself.


Have you ever tried to use mindfulness-based art therapy to de-stress yourself? These mindfulness therapy techniques can be amazing at relieving you of your daily stress, boosting your self confidence and finally reducing your anxiety, depression and other factors which may put your mind in distress.

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Frequently asked questions:

How does mindfulness-based art therapy work?
Mindfulness-based art therapy is the process of integrating mindfulness practice into the process of creating an artwork. The therapist focuses on guided meditation, mindfulness teachings and finally exploration of the art created by the client.
Which is an example of mindfulness-based art therapy?
In mindfulness-based art therapy the person is asked to focus on his or her breathing patterns, be aware of the space around them and focus on the patterns of the strokes being used to create the artwork.
What is mindfulness-based art therapy used for?
The primary purpose of the mindfulness-based art therapy technique is to aid emotional and psychological healing of a person over a period of time. Mindfulness techniques can be used to relieve anxiety, stress, physical pain and mental health concerns in the client.
Can mindfulness-based art therapy technique be used to relieve anxiety?
Yes mindfulness-based art therapy technique is very useful for relieving anxiety and stress. With regular practice, mindfulness therapy techniques can be very helpful in allowing a person to focus on their surroundings and relax instead of breezing through life at a super fast pace.

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