What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses art as an expressive medium for improving the emotional, mental and physical well-being of individuals. This allows them to express themselves artistically, address their conflicts, manage their feelings or behaviors, and improves self-esteem.  Because of its benefits, the therapy is used for the treatment of a wide range of psychological and mental disorders and may or may not be used in conjunction with other psychotherapy techniques.

Art therapy dates back to the middle of the 20th century when doctors began to realize the mental health benefits which art was capable of offering to individuals suffering from mental conflicts and disorders. This led to the usage of art as a treatment of mental and emotional illness.

How Does Art Therapy Work

Art therapy is provided by art therapists who have the ability to pick up metaphors and nonverbal symbols expressed through creative processes and works of art. These messages are usually difficult to express through words.

Anyone can use art therapy for expressing and communicating their feelings. Though the art of communication and expression is largely associated with words, art therapy allows individuals to express themselves without them. This unconventional treatment works in different ways for different people and may be used as a means of treatment, healing, psychotherapy, rehabilitation and counseling purposes.

The Benefits of Art Therapy

Art therapy includes drawing, painting, sculpting and creating a collage to express oneself through arts. This is a creative process that allows those experiencing it to enjoy a sense of fulfillment, achievement, and satisfaction. It also serves as a route for someone to discover themselves and release stress, negative feelings or tension. However, the main purpose of art therapy is the feeling of fulfillment after expressing themselves and achieving something. This improves mental and emotional health and the overall well-being of individuals.

Art therapy can also be used for children who are suffering from learning disabilities, social and behavioral problems at school or home, or may have experienced a traumatic event. Similarly elders suffering from depression, anxiety, stress and other psychological issues or those who have experienced violence, abuse and trauma may find art therapy of great help.

However, it is important to remember that art therapy is not for everyone. Therefore, it is essential that a professional be consulted beforehand.