What is Art Therapy and why is it beneficial? Today we’ll be exploring what Art Therapy consists of, its goals, and its benefits.
Art Therapy is basically just what it sounds like: a therapeutic action involving the use of making art as a means to help oneself mentally, emotionally, physically, or any combo of those parts of health. Art Therapy is defined by The American Art Therapy Association as “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.”
Art Therapy is facilitated by art therapists who are master-level degreed. Art Therapy isn’t just some all-encompassing, feel-good term for making Pinterest projects to post on social media and get lots of head pats and compliments. It’s an actual form of therapy that is recognized by the medical field and has been around since the 1940s. It can be beneficial to patients of all ages, who suffer from all sorts of disorders, traumas, and stressors. Art Therapy always involves a professional, a patient, and a course of treatment as the means to help alleviate symptoms and guide the patient towards better health.
There are myriad uses for Art Therapy. Cancer patients, for example, may benefit from creating art to express their feelings about their condition. People who experience mental health issues may also experience healing through Art Therapy. Children who have survived traumatic events may find solace in making artwork. Adults who have lived through domestic abuse and other stressful times can heal by participating in Art Therapy. The list goes on; anyone who has ever created artwork can probably tell you about a time in their life when art helped them through something or helped them heal from something negative.
Art Therapy typically takes place in a somewhat controlled setting such as a private therapist’s office, a school, a community center, a group home, or senior centers, to name a few. The goal of Art Therapy is to help a person express how they feel about a particular situation or circumstance in their life with which they’re struggling. The benefits of Art Therapy include improved mental, emotional, and physical health, and Art Therapy becomes another tool people can use throughout their lives to help deal with other issues that arise or recur.