Art Therapy: A True or False Pop Quiz

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” (American Art Therapy Association, 2017). In other words, art therapy is used by a qualified art therapist as a therapeutic tool to help clients use the creative process to gain deeper understanding and enhance their overall well-being.

True or False: People who participate in art therapy need to be good at art?
FALSE! People who participate in art therapy do not need to have artistic ability, be good at art or have an art background. Some research studies show that just being in the presence of art can positively impact mental health. It is a common misunderstanding that art is only for artists or those with creative skills. Art therapy requires absolutely no artistic experience and is all about the process of creating art and not the finished product.

True or False: Art therapy is only for children
FALSE! Art therapy is for people of all ages, not just children and teens. This therapeutic process can be used by persons of any age, from the youngest to the oldest. Art therapy can help children develop emotionally by expressing their feeling, learning to regulate their emotions and building their self-esteem through creative play. Art therapy can also be used to help children with specials needs or those who struggle with verbal communication.

For older individuals, they may find it easier to visually show they feel instead of having to verbalize thoughts and feelings. Also, visually showing how a person thinks or feels may feel like a safer way for clients to express themselves until they feel more ready to verbally process their life experiences.

True or False: Anyone can benefit from art therapy
TRUE! Art therapy is beneficial for people of all ages. It can be used in individual, couples and family therapy sessions, as well as group therapy. Studies show that art therapy used in couples and family sessions utilize the creative process to assist individuals in unlocking how they think and feel. Such breakthroughs in understanding thoughts and feelings encourage deeper exploration of underlying issues and can enhance communication as core issues are addressed. Using the creative process can also help couples and families rediscover their emotional connection between one another creating a stronger bond and building more of an understanding towards each other.

In group therapy, art therapy uses the creative process to promote self-awareness as members learn how to express themselves. Social interactions during group also help members develop both communication and social skills. Using the creative process enhances skills in taking turns and listening to others. Group art therapy also provides the opportunity for members to learn how to support and encourage others well through the group process.

True or False: Art Therapy is different than an Art Class
TRUE! Art therapy is facilitated by a qualified art therapist. An art class is led by an instructor or teacher. Art Therapy takes place in a safe, confidential environment while an art class takes place in a studio or classroom. The main goal of art therapy is self-expression while the main goal of an art class is to learn. Art classes may teach a right way or technique on how to do something but there is no right or wrong way to do things in art therapy. Art therapy focuses on the creative process. Art class focuses on the final art piece. The study of art focuses on formal qualities or elements of design. In art therapy, the artwork is an expression of the self, using art as the vehicle of communication.

In closing, art therapy is for anyone struggling with a mental health issue. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, bereavement, trauma or another mental health problem, art therapy can help. If you are wanting art therapy, or just classic counseling, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-267-1443 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Winter Garden mental health counselors.

For additional information go to:
the American Art Therapy Association website at www.arttherapy.org


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