Art therapy in its simplest definition, is the use of artistic methods to treat psychological disorders and to enhance their mental health. The technique is rooted in the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being. It is a hybrid field influenced by the disciplines of art and psychology. An Art Therapist will assist those receiving treatments to develop self-awareness, explore emotions, help resolve emotional conflicts and improve social skills to name a few.
Art therapy was recognized as a formal program in the 1940s'. Doctors noted that individuals with mental illnesses often expressed themselves better through drawings and other art, which led to the exploration of art as a healing strategy.
The goal of Art therapy is to utilize the creative process to help people understand the importance of self -expression and is doing so build new coping skills. There are several techniques used in Art therapy which include,
As clients create art through the mediums, the therapist will analyze what they have made and how it makes them feel. Through further exploration, people are able to identify themselves better and understand the conflicts that may affect their thinking and behavior patterns.
In which areas can Art Therapy help?
Art therapy can be used to treat a wide range of disorders. Below are some conditions that Art therapy may be used to treat,
Benefits of Art Therapy
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, less than an hour of creative activity can reduce the stress and have a positive impact on one's mental health, regardless of artistic experience or talent.
People have who experienced heightened emotional trauma, physical violence, anxiety, depression and other psychological issues can benefit greatly from this method of intervention.
Research suggests that Art Therapy is beneficial, but there are cons to it as well. The studies carried are often on smaller samples and are inconclusive so there is definitely further research which needs to be carried out.
Art Therapy is an interesting deviation from the conventional treatment methods and is an area which certainly can be considered in future non- medical interventions.