What is art therapy? According to American Art Therapy Association, it’s the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. This type of therapy uses art as the primary source of communication to treat patients. With the use of art materials and creative techniques, art therapy promotes personal growth, self reflection and emotional stability. Art therapy is often used in conjunction with counseling to improve the overall well-being of the patient.
What Is Art Therapy? Most forms of therapy are centered on verbal communication. Art therapy, however, breaks that mold and introduces a more creative means of both communicating ideas and learning to grow. The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as: Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being.
What is art therapy? According to the American Art Therapy Association, Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship (1). Art Therapy can happen in a variety of places and provide great benefits to anyone that participates, both physically and mentally. Art Therapy is also important because it can help some find who they really are as a person without the use of words. Art Therapy can help improve those suffering from mental illnesses like Depression, trauma like PTSD, Anxiety, and much more.
Art therapy focuses on the creative process for a person instead of what they are able to produce. Confusing and difficult feelings are able to be expressed through using Art Therapy because it is presented in a non-threatening manner. Art Therapy is used to encourage insight, self-awareness, and independence of the patient. People whom use Art Therapy feel they are able to communicate and gain understanding through it. Art Therapy is said to help in a creative process that a person goes through in which they can find "inner guidance" and find "self-healing" at a conscious level.
There are many different approaches to art therapy, one being the placement of importance on symbolic images which are mainly focused on finding the origins of the individual’s unresolved conflicts. Since the creation of visual art engages sensorimotor actions and involves perceptual processes, the piece can be understood verbally and even nonverbally, creating a therapeutic effect “by changing the image or the expressive medium in external reality” (Lusebrink 89). Art therapy is a great way for people with these degenerative brain illnesses, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, to engage with others through self-expression and validate these patients a sense of self in their current state. It is a way to involve visual expression of imagery and emotions in “different art media using kinesthetic action and sensory manipulation of the media” (Lusebrink 89), meaning that through the physical movements of creating art, this form of therapy has found highly effective methods for accessing and strengthening nonverbal affective functions, as Shore
In conclusion, art therapy has many different aspects that can be beneficial to clients when implemented into a substance abuse treatment program. The benefits that develop can be influences to substance abuse clients as well the counselor. Art therapy techniques offer something unique to each individual and also to the group process. Additionally, art therapy can be implement individual but does have a great effect within group therapy. Effects such as group cohesion, group processing, connectedness, relapse prevention, and instillation of hope are useful to substance abuse clients.
“Art therapy is a form of therapy in making of visual images (paintings, drawings, models etc.) in the presences of a qualified art therapist contributes towards externalization of thoughts and feelings which may otherwise remain unexpressed”(Walter & Gilory, 1992). My vision of Art Therapy was very vague. I always thought art therapy was a form of therapy for distressed or abused children trying to tell a story through pictures or drawings. The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well being of individuals of all ages.
Art therapy is a beneficial technique that works especially well with children. Sometimes children are unable to put into words the different emotions they are feeling, art therapy can assist the therapist in discovering the different issues children’s may feel. Art therapy focuses on the creative process of exploring deeper meanings in a patient’s personal experiences, while integrating psychotherapy with multi-arts, this approach can help children access, process, and integrate traumatic feelings in a manner that allows for appropriate emotional regulation. This technique uses imagination, rituals, and the creative process, which may include painting drawing, sculpture, dance, movement, music, drama, or poetry (Siegal, 2013). Children usually
Creative Art Therapy: Creative art therapy is a technique that implements theory of three major schools of thought: PSYCHODYNAMIC HUMANISTIC BEHAVIORISM „Y Uses: Therapists use this implementation of theory and introduce this technique to the client at the appropriate time to facilitate creativity, personal growth, and therapeutic change. PSYCHDYNAMIC Creative art therapy can be used as a medium to capture hidden impulses, and emotions. This technique also helps to explore unconscious secret desires and fears. Jung¡¦s regard for imagination and creativity as one of the major forces of healing. Jung also introduced therapist to the role of active participant in the creative endeavor.
Once the unconscious emotions of the creator attain a conscious level, the application of art therapy principles allows the therapist to assess these emotions, feelings, attitudes and behaviors accordingly (Dryden et al. 1992). In order to execute the recommendations of art therapy, therapists are equipped with several skills and expertise, which permit them to establish a link between the areas of art and therapy for the benefit of the creator. The key abilities of art therapists however, encompass a comprehensive understanding of the processes that are involved in art. These abilities involve expertise in the realm of symbolic communication and the ability to maintain an environment where patients feel secure and protected.