Art therapy is the use of the creative process to improve and enhance physical, mental and emotional well-being. It is based on the belief that the creative process is both healing and self-enhancing. The art product creates a vehicle upon which the artist can identify thoughts and feelings that they otherwise would not express.
Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy. It is used with children, adolescents, adults, groups and families. It is especially useful for children with limited language skills or those who are unwilling or unable to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
Art therapy is used to assess and treat:
- Other mental and emotional problems and disorders
- Substance abuse and other addictions
- Family and relationship issues
- Abuse and domestic violence
What are the key benefits of art therapy?
- Self discovery—art triggers on emotional catharsis
- Personal fulfillment—which can build confidence and nurture feelings of self worth.
- Empowerment—people visually express emotions and fears that they cannot express through conventional means which can give them some sense of control over these fears
- Relaxation and Stress Relief
- Symptom Relief and Physiological Rehabilitation—it is healing to identify and work through anger, resentment and other emotional stressors
Art therapists recognize nonverbal symbols and metaphors that are documented within the creative process and are difficult to discuss in words. The client-artist directs the interpretation of the artwork.