Art Therapy

Recommended for: Helps develop self-awareness

Art Therapy

Sweeping brushstrokes, kilns and ceramics, collages and calligraphy. Putting creative and artistic abilities to use can be fun but it can also be good for your well-being. 

Art therapy is the use of artistic methods to promote healing, overall well-being as well as a method to treat psychological disorders. Many different types of techniques can be used in art therapy for people of all ages to enjoy. These includes creating a collage, colouring, drawing, painting, photography and sculpting. This therapy is based upon the disciplines of art and psychology to help people express those thoughts, emotions and experiences that may be difficult to speak about. It uses the creative process to help develop self-awareness, explore emotions, and address unresolved emotional conflicts.

Art has been used for thousands of years for communication and self-expression. However, art therapy did not become a formal therapy until the 1940s. Utilizing the creative process, it helps people develop self-awareness and explore self-expression. Since then, art has become an important part of the therapeutic field and is used in some assessments and treatment techniques. 

How does it work? 

When someone in art therapy has created something, they can observe their art and how it makes them feel. They can gain personal insight by studying themes and conflicts that may be affecting their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Then new coping skills can be developed to aid in their healing journey. It is not to be confused with an art class. Art therapy focuses on the inner experience so people can focus on their own perceptions, imagination and feelings. 

Art therapy can be used in conjunction with group therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. It can be used to help many mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety and psychological distress. Recently, researchers have discovered that art therapy is also beneficial for physical well-being. It has been shown to decrease stress for adult cancer patients as well as reduce stress and anxiety for children with asthma. 

Regardless of creative ability, spending less than an hour of creative activity can reduce stress and have a positive and uplifting effect on our mental state.

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