What is art therapy?
Art therapy clients use their imagination to approach and explore their emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Especially useful in young people and people with developmental delays, when their motor skills exceed their verbal skills, they’ll get more out of art therapy than talk-only.
How does art therapy work?
Art Therapy has been known to strengthen your resolve, giving you the basic strength to overcome life’s adversities. Our minds are capable of projecting our indescribable, unspeakable, or subconscious thoughts and feelings into this therapeutic approach to mental health. Art has the ability to promote self-esteem, and to dig deeper into unspoken perceptions of self. Art therapy is capable of providing you with the necessary tools to uncover your own basic needs.
You do not have to be an artist or have artistic skills to benefit from art therapy. Techniques such as drawing, painting, sculpting, colouring, or even visions boards may be used. You will talk about how it felt to create your artwork, and if you see any persistent themes or patterns.
When is art therapy used?
Art therapy can be used with a variety of clients, from both the young and the old. The therapist will explain why and what they hope to obtain through this approach, and provide feedback to you about your art to discuss the meanings they draw from their creation. The mediums vary depending upon the clinic and the therapist; they may include crayons, pencils, paints, clays, and so forth. Art therapy can be beneficial by externalizing your difficult issues, accessing your sub-conscious through art, then bringing it to the forefront, with the help of the art therapist.
Art therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies to help people who are experiencing a wide variety of events including:
- Children’s concerns
- Adolescent and teen issues
- Changes in physical health
- Changes in mental health
- Grief and loss
- Divorce or separation
- Self esteem issues
- Mental health disorders
- Developmental disorders
- Eating disorders
- Alcohol dependence
- Drug or substance abuse
This type of therapy may be used to treat other conditions and concerns in addition to those listed above. Your therapist will work with you to determine the best treatment method for your individual circumstances.
You should be aware that there is no treatment method that is successful for every person. What works for you, may not work for someone else.
What to expect from therapy?
Put simply, you will get out of therapy what you put into it. It’s not a magic solution that will solve all your problems. It may involve you doing some real work and being completely honest with yourself and your therapist. Sometimes facing our truth is the hardest thing of all – but from that discomfort can come healing and growth.