The field of art therapy incorporates the use of visual arts to provide therapeutic relief to clients. Its roots can be traced back to the fields of art and psychotherapy, but the definition of art therapy varies from one practice to another. The objective of art therapy is to help individuals develop self-awareness and cope with life’s challenges. Art therapists help clients express their feelings and experiences through the use of various forms of art.
Art Therapists are Trained in Both Art and Therapy
An art therapist is a health care professional who combines the therapeutic value of the arts with the psychological benefits of the human mind. They use creative art activities to help clients explore their emotions, manage behaviours, and develop social and problem-solving skills. Art activities also boost self-esteem and foster self-awareness. Art therapists evaluate the creative process of the client and the final product, as well as the patient’s interests, personality, and cognitive and physical development.
To practice their profession, art therapists have specialised skills. They are expected to work with different populations and diagnoses, and may have to deal with many different types of mental and physical ailments. They may also be involved in the treatment of children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups. In addition, art therapists must undergo additional training to ensure their effectiveness. Some art therapists even pursue further certification.
They Help Clients Explore Emotions
Art therapy is a form of creative expression that allows clients to explore their emotions through different mediums. The therapy works well for clients of all ages, cultures, and personalities. Clients may experience a wide range of emotions, including feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. Clients may also work through their trauma, anger, or depression. They can also use art therapy to cope with stress. The good news is that it does not require natural artistic talent. The therapists don’t judge or critique the client’s creative process.
The main difference between art therapy and verbal therapy is the approach used to facilitate the therapeutic process. Art therapy is often considered a “top-down” approach. Although verbal therapy is often associated with using cognition to control feelings, art therapy helps clients explore their emotions through creative expression. A simple example is prompting clients to create a collage based on their family. This approach can be particularly beneficial for those who have experienced trauma or have suffered from preverbal autism.
They Help Clients Develop Self-Awareness
There are several ways in which art therapy can help clients develop self-awareness. Art can help clients to understand themselves more deeply and communicate their needs and feelings. For instance, art therapy can involve close conversation about the expressive experience of a client’s artwork. The process can also involve direct interaction with the client and encourage an internal dialogue. Art therapy helps clients to identify the different sides of their personalities and the underlying issues affecting them.
Many art therapists will ask their clients about their health history, current concerns, and any art forms they are interested in. They may also suggest themes and art mediums to explore. In addition, they may ask about the emotions clients feel when they create their own art. Often, art therapists will ask their clients about how the process of making art affects them. Art therapists may encourage their clients to share their feelings through art, so that they can become more comfortable and confident in their own abilities.
They Help Clients Cope with Life’s Challenges
There is no one definitive way to help a person cope with mental illness. The accumulated results of studies in this category suggest that art therapy may help. However, more studies are needed to determine whether it is a good way to help people cope with various mental health problems. One of the most important ways to determine if art therapy can help a person cope with life’s challenges is to determine whether it is effective for specific populations.
When used in art therapy, it allows the client to express feelings and understand memories. It helps them integrate displaced, dissociated, and repressed parts of themselves. This ultimately leads to the “ideal self,” a fully integrated and content self. When used to help clients cope with life’s challenges, art therapy helps them develop positive coping strategies and increase their sense of self-worth. In turn, art therapy can help clients cope with the pressures and stresses of everyday life.