Unleash Creativity for Healing: The Benefits of Art Therapy

I know we are all familiar with traditional therapy where you go sit with a trained, psychologist or therapist and talk about the challenges one is facing in their life and all the things causing a strain in every day living, commonly known as talk therapy. And if you are not sure what I mean by traditional therapy I’m more than happy to share the meaning. It is therapy in the conventional sense meaning is it widely accepted and used as the go to method. It is mental health therapy where a treatment is provided by a licensed professional who assist people during periods of emotional and psychological stress.

Malika Fudge

10/25/20234 min read

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Types of Traditional Therapy

A few common approaches to psychotherapy are Cognitive, Behavioral, Psychoanalysis and Psychodynamic. Cognitive therapy places importance on thoughts versus behaviors because the understanding is dysfunctional thoughts lead to dysfunctional actions and emotions. It is believed by changing one’s thoughts, individuals can change their feelings and how they act. Behavioral therapy focuses on the idea that all behaviors are learned and can be changed. Classical conditioning (associative learning), operant conditioning, and cognitive behavioral therapy are variations of behavior therapy. Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies focal point is uncovering unconscious meanings and motivations to alter maladaptive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Art Therapy

Using the creative process of creating art, art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that enhances a person's mental and emotional health. It is predicated on the idea that making art can aid people in expressing themselves, working through challenging emotions, and increasing self-awareness and self-esteem. People of all ages can engage in art therapy in individual or group settings to address a range of mental health conditions. The approach usually entails the person producing art while working with a therapist to examine the thoughts and feelings that surfaced throughout the creative process. In addition to giving people a non-verbal way to communicate, art therapy is an efficient technique to reach unconscious thoughts and feelings.

Techniques

A multitude of strategies can be used in art therapy to assist people in improving their mental and emotional health. Among the methods frequently employed in art therapy are:

  • Drawing and painting: People can use a number of tools, such crayons, markers, or paint, to produce works of art that express their ideas and emotions. The client may be given a theme or emotion to concentrate on, or the therapist may just let them create as they like. The individual will then engage with the therapist to examine the ideas and feelings that surfaced throughout the creative process.

  • Collage: Individuals cut and arrange found images and objects to produce a new piece of art that expresses the individual's inner experiences. The therapist may instruct the person to use particular objects or images to represent their ideas and emotions, or they may just give them free rein.

  • Sculpting: People can make three-dimensional works of art that represent their feelings and thoughts using materials like clay, wood, or papier-mâché. The individual may be given a specific sculpture to make or the counselor may just let them express themselves creatively.

  • Sandplay: To depict the person's experiences, sceneries are built in a sand tray using small figurines and objects. The person may be given a specific scene to draw or the therapist may just let them draw whatever they like. The individual will then engage with the practitioner to examine the ideas and feelings that surfaced throughout the creative process.

  • Drama and movement: This technique involves expressing feelings and thoughts via body language and gestures. A client may be asked to imitate particular actions or gestures, or the facilitator may just let them move as they choose.

  • Writing and poetry: This technique, which can be used with other art therapy methods, uses words to communicate feelings and experiences. The therapist may ask the individual to write about a specific theme or emotion, or may simply allow them to write freely.

These methods are employed to assist people in exploring their thoughts and feelings, dealing with challenging emotions, and growing in self-awareness and self-esteem. The precise methods employed in art therapy will depend on the needs, preferences, and therapeutic objectives of the patient.

How Can Art Therapy Help You

Both in individual and group settings, art therapy can be beneficial for those struggling with a range of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress. People can process painful experiences and learn new, healthy coping mechanisms for their emotions with the aid of art therapy's creative process. By giving people with depression and anxiety a healthy outlet for their emotions and by boosting their self-esteem and confidence, it can also be beneficial. Working with a certified and professional art therapist who can assist you in the process is crucial.

Creating an artwork and working with a therapist to examine the thoughts and emotions that surfaced throughout the creative process are two common steps in the art therapy process. This might be a non-verbal method for people to express their inner feelings, and it might provide them a sense of catharsis and release. People can better understand their motivations and emotions through creating art, which helps them acquire insight into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

In addition to increasing self-awareness, art therapy can aid people in developing coping mechanisms, enhancing communication abilities, boosting confidence and self-esteem, and promoting personal development. People can get insight into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as a greater knowledge of their motivations and emotions through the process of making art. This greater self-awareness can help in decision-making, strengthen relationships with others, and promote personal development. The act of making art may be empowering and give people a sense of pride and accomplishment, both of which can enhance their general mental and emotional health.

Art therapy can be helpful in group settings in addition as for individuals. People who participate in group art therapy get the chance to interact with others who might be going through similar mental health issues and to support one another while they are creating. Additionally, group art therapy can promote community building, communication, and social skills improvement.

Conclusion

Art therapy can be done in individual or group settings, with people of all ages, including children and older adults. People who are struggling with a range of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress, may find relief via art therapy. Working with an expert art therapist who can help you navigate the process and make sure you are getting the most out of your therapy sessions is crucial. Art therapy could be a wonderful option for you if you want to enhance your mental health, discover fresh means of self-expression, or simply have the chance to partake in an enjoyable and gratifying activity.