28Jan

What is Art Therapy?

Define Art Therapy
Art therapy is used as a therapeutic tool by a qualified art therapist to help clients seek a deeper understanding as well as enhance their mental well- being. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is defined 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” (American Art Therapy Association, 2017). In other words, art therapy is a therapeutic relationship between a client and qualified art therapist. The qualified art therapist provides a safe space for the client to express their thoughts and feelings as one uses the creative process of art marking without any judgements. Art therapy is not focused on the end piece or final art product, but it is all about the process of art making. The process of art making allows the client to reflect and acknowledge how one thinks or feels as they work through any emotion allowing themselves to heal, overcoming any challenge that they may be faced with.

Art Therapy for Anyone
Art therapy can be used with individuals, couples, families or even within groups and is for anyone. Art therapy is for people of all ages and isn’t just for young children, adolescent, or teens but can also be for adults. Art therapy can also be used with the elderly or any range of age. Oftentimes, it is easier for the older individuals to visually show how one thinks or feels verse telling someone verbally which this could be safer way for them until they are ready to truly process and explore their feelings or emotions.

Art therapy can help children develop emotionally by expressing their feeling as they learn to regulate their emotions, building up their self-esteem through creative play. Art therapy can also be used to help children with specials needs or have type of disability as verbal communication could be difficult.

Art therapy can be used with both families and couples because as studies have shown the effectiveness of using the creative approach can assist in how one thinks or feels, breaking through any wall to help explore the underlying issue, enhancing the communication. Using the creative process can also help families and couples rediscover their emotional connection between one another creating a stronger bond and building more of an understanding towards each other.

Art therapy can also be used within groups because using the creative process allows the individual to gain self-awareness as they learn how to express themselves among interaction of others, developing skills in both communication and socialization. Using the creative process can enhance skills in taking turns and listening to others from within the group as they can share their thoughts or feelings. Using art therapy within groups can help make positive changes along with personal growth by supporting and encouraging others through the ability to offer as well as accept feedback from others.

Benefits from Art Therapy
Art therapy is beneficial for any and everyone. Anyone dealing with any type of challenge or struggling with any issues can benefit from art therapy. Art therapy can help individuals who suffer from mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use, additions, eating disorders, stress from family or relationship problems along with trauma and those who experience emotional abuse. People who have intellectual or developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy or attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder can benefit from art therapy. Art therapy can also treat a variety of physical difficulties such as reducing pains or aches, decreasing symptoms of those who have dementia or even experience stress from asthma as well as improving the quality of life in people who have cancer, which the list could go on and on.

Art therapy can help anyone who is needing help with their coping skills, self-esteem or even build their communication skills. With the use of art therapy, an individual can gain self-awareness and can enhance their overall sense of well being.

If you or someone you know is dealing with any challenges and would like to give art therapy or counseling a chance as a way to receive guidance as well as support, 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

References
American Art Therapy Association. (2017). ABOUT ART THERAPY. Retrieved from https://arttherapy.org/about-art-therapy/
What is Art Therapy?. Retrieved from http://www.arttherapyblog.com/what-is-art-therapy/#.XgmPqOt7n-Y

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allison Pineau