What Exactly is Art Therapy?


art 2The official definition of Art therapy is that it is a form of therapy that is expressive that uses different creative processes of creating artwork to help clients to improve their mental, physical, and overall emotional well-being.

The different creative processes that are involved in expressing yourself artistically can actually help people to be able to resolve different issues in their lives along with learning how to manage and develop their feelings and behavior, reduction of stress, and helps to improve one’s self-awareness and self-esteem.

No Talent Required

Clients don’t have to be an artist or creatively talented in order to receive benefits from this type of therapy because the pros that work with their clients will work with them to dive right into the messages that end up being communicated through their art and this can aid in their healing process.

Art Therapy Can Achieve Different Things

This special type of therapy which can achieve a variety of different things for a variety of different people. It is a therapy that can be used as counselling by psychologists and therapists. It can also be used as treatment, healing, psychotherapy, rehabilitation, and in a sense is used to help massage a person’s inner self in such a way that might be able to give individuals a deeper understanding of themselves.

Different Definitions for This Type of Therapy

Sometimes art therapy is also referred to as expressive arts therapy or creative arts therapy.

Expressive Therapy – This type of art therapy will use different art materials like chalk, markers, and paints. This type of therapy will combine traditional psychotherapeutic techniques and theories that comes with the understanding of psychological aspects of the creative process.

Creative Arts Therapy – Art therapy also involves creating art so that a client can increase their self-awareness and awareness of others in their lives. In turn, this may be able to also promote personal development, enhance their cognitive functions, and increase their coping skills. Art therapy is based on human development, psychology, personality theories, art education, and family systems. Those who offer this service has been trained in psychological therapy and art.

American Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as the therapeutic use of creating artwork during a professional relationship. It is often used for those who have experienced an illness, various challenges in life, personal development, and trauma.

Who Are Art Therapists?

An art therapist is a professional that’s trained in therapy and the arts. They are extremely well trained and knowledgeable when it comes to psychological theories, human development, clinical practice, artistic and multicultural traditions, spiritual, and healing potential of using art as a therapy. An art therapist can work with all ages, couples, individuals, groups, families, and communities. They help to provide services as part of a clinical team or privately. They can be found working in settings such as mental health clinics, rehabilitation centers, forensic and medical institutions, wellness centers, community outreach programs, open studios, independent practice, and corporate situations.

Who is This Kind of Therapy For?

Just about any person can use and benefit from art therapy. In society today there is a vast variety of ways in which art 3one can communicate and express themselves and art therapy is just another way to be able to do this. Because some people find it difficult to express themselves through the use of words will often find art therapy a great way to express their feelings.

One of the great things about art therapy is that it gives people the ability to easily express their feelings by using any kind of art form. Even though there are other kinds of expressive therapies like performing arts, the type of art therapy we’re talking about here generally will utilize the more traditional art forms that include:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Various other types of visual art expression

What Do Art Therapists Do?

An art therapist is trained in art and therapy and they have mastered human development training and psychology and will have received an MA degree. There are also a variety of different requirements for becoming a therapist in art therapy along with certain certifications which means that they mastered being able to use art as a springboard for just about everything from general assessments of a client’s mental state to treating serious mental illnesses.

An art therapist is well trained in picking up on non-verbal metaphors and symbols that are quite often expressed through the creative process and art in order to express things that might be difficult to express through words. It is through the artistic process that clients start to begin to see the different effects of art therapy and all the exciting discoveries that are made.

Reason for Using Art Therapy

Like with most other therapies, art therapy can be used as a treatment for a variety of things. This is generally used in such a way that a person can improve their mental well-being and emotional state of mind. Art therapy does not always have to be used just for treatment. It can also be used to help people to relieve their stress and tension. It can also be used as a type of self-discovery.

Does One Need to Be Artistically Talented?

Not at all. The only thing that is required is that you not be afraid of letting yourself go and express yourself through some form of art. If you’ve never done any kind of art in your life, it might seem a little different and even unnatural. However, once you get used to it it will become easier and easier. When you start using your creative process on a regular basis along with a trained professional you’ll eventually feel a lot more comfortable with this new found form of expression. Remember, that art therapy is not to create an artistic masterpiece but to help give you peace of mind.

Art Therapy is a Wonderful Type of Therapy

Using creative arts as a type of therapy is a wonderful field of psychology that has over and over again proven to do amazing things for people and for their lives. It’s a type of therapy that can help people to express themselves far better. It also can improve their self-awareness, self-esteem, and explore their emotions. For some, it even helpsmanage their addictions. Art therapy works wonders with children who might be dealing with developmental disabilities. Art therapy is great because it can help just about everyone!

Have you noticed how doing something like drawing, even doodling or listening to music can help relax you after a long and stressful day? This is because it’s extremely therapeutic. An art therapist is someone who can help you learn to interpret your feelings that might come out in your art design.  It can even help you work through your problems and even resolve your problems.

There have been studies that have proven that even when an adult colors they receive huge benefits. However, with some, it seems like a taboo in the world of adults. Many feel it’s foolish to sit around coloring, drawing, playing music, or painting. But if you want it to work and gain benefits you’ll need to break away from that social taboo. Just try it and see how letting your creativity flow can make you feel free.

Other Creative Expressions as Therapy

Within art therapy, you’ll also find that there are also music and dance therapies. Dance therapy can utilize movement and dance and can be really beneficial and it makes sense that it is. Dancing is extremely effective for raising one’s mood. This is because it’s an activity that helps to release tons of endorphins into your body.  Endorphins help to improve your mood immensely. Music therapy can include listening to music, singing, playing instruments as well as a combination of these activities.

When it comes to art therapy, it can be a mixture of things that include: 

  • Doodling
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpting
  • Coloring 
  • Just about anything else one might think of as being artistic

They are usually all the kinds of things that people most often love to do like hobbies.

Art Therapy Great For Many Things

Not only can art therapy help a person improve their emotional well-being, it can be wonderful for a variety of other things. Art can simply be an incredible escape from feeling bad. It can help a person who has just been diagnosed with cancer for example. When a person has to battle cancer it takes a huge emotional and physical toll. Accepting the diagnosis alone can be a huge struggle. Art therapy is something that can be a powerful way to express these emotions. It helps to relieve the sadness, anger, and stress.

Art therapy has so many different uses and benefits. Benefits that can immensely improve someone’s life for a huge variety of reasons. Even if you’re a person who doesn’t need any kind of serious help, it is still a great way for you to relieve your stress. It is also a great career opportunity for those who want to help people in a creative manner.



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