“A picture is a poem without words” – HORACE
Drawing through your mind, shaping through your thoughts, and producing through your skill. This is known as ART. Read further to know the art therapy activities.
When you produce something out of your knowledge, thoughts, and feelings, you put your whole effort into the work. Your mind is engaged, your thoughts are inclined, and everything is just perfect. This is your Art.
Art not only acts as a hobby of an individual but also plays a vital role in providing therapy to people.
Art therapy is an example of the healing of a person through their creativity and imagination. This therapy involves a lot of emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Art therapy is provided to people who deal with mental health problems and need attention to their problems in life.
Let us explore how art helps each one of us in every possible way and learn about the concept of Art therapy.
What is Art Therapy?
Our human mind is a precious gift to us. It is the reason that we are creative and thoughtful. It provides us with various skills and talents.
As said earlier, Art is something that we create and design through our vision, through our ideas and thoughts. All of it put together creates a form of Art.
Some people by nature are interested in Arts. It can be sketching or drawing. They are involved in their school activities, college festivals, and other places where they utilize their creativity and artistic skills.
It is very useful for any person to indulge in any form of Art. It not only utilizes your imagination and creativity but also motivates you to practice this more often. It calms your mind, keeps you engaged, and makes you feel productive as well.
That is why Art is considered to be the best therapy for every kind of issue one faces.
- Art therapy wasn’t a usual practicing method performed by the therapists at earlier times. It was introduced as a formal program for people suffering from mental issues or who had a problem opening up. This came up in the 1940s.
- The artistic techniques and methods that are used to treat mental health issues and psychological disorders.
- It is taught by an Art Therapist who is trained and specialized in Artistic studies and skills. This Therapy helps people dealing with mental well-being, or who have issues with communicating their thoughts and ideas through verbal means.
- Art Therapy helps people clear their minds and engage in an activity that motivates them in a certain way.
- People who were observed to be struggling with issues related to mental health, or depression and communication issues, were found to be involved in arts and paintings.
- Because the people open up their thoughts on a piece of paper and explore their abilities. They gain self-confidence, self-esteem, and a variety of knowledge in this field.
- Doctors who treat people with mental sickness, and issues regarding mental well-being, found out that those people were able to express in a better way through their paintings, and brought out their thoughts and feelings in the pictures they painted and drew perfectly.
You may visit the link below to learn more about art therapy: https://arttherapy.org/about-art-therapy/
What techniques are used in this therapy?
Art therapy provides mental peace and a feeling of productivity in ourselves. The main aim of art therapy is to provide the person with the freedom to express its thoughts and feelings by drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.
The goal is to help cope up with their mental and emotional well-being. It will not only provide them self-confidence but also give an insight into their skills.
It keeps a person engaged in the methods and techniques of art. Through the art activities, a person utilizes their skills and learns more about the expression towards their interests. Throughout this program, a person can manage their stress well and learn to value their self-esteem. They can be more aware of themselves, interests, and thoughts.
Let us see a few techniques that are used during Art therapies to help people in various other ways.
- Finger Painting
- Making Sculptures
- Clay modeling
- Pottery, etc.
Through these activities, the people performing these get them an idea of what they have done and how they have done it.
They understand the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors involved in the process and learn more from the experience. It could also play a part in building up their hobbies.
Who has benefited from Art Therapy?
As mentioned before Art Therapy helps people who are dealing with mental distress, psychological issues, depression, and issues associated with mental well-being.
Art therapy also helps people to deal with psychotherapies and interact with other people. They engage in group therapies being conducted along with other activities.
Let us take a look at the type of people benefiting from Art Therapy:
- People dealing with Anxiety issues
- Depression and Stress
- Age-related mental issues
- Past traumatic experiences
- People who are suffering from cancer
- Or People who have recovered from diseases but are not able to keep their emotional and mental health stable
- Some people experience different kinds of eating disorders. Art Therapy and other activities help those people deal with their situation
- Psychological issues
- People dealing with abusive behavior and domestic violence
- Other Medical Problems
- People dealing with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
- People dealing with relationships and family issues
- People who are engaged in rehabilitation centers
- Other disorders and mental health
Where does Art Therapy take place?
According to a report mentioned in the American Art Therapy Association, Art Therapies take place in the following places:
- It takes place in Hospitals
- Health care Institutions and Centers
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Community Centers
- Psychiatric centers
- Forensic Institutions
- Senior Communities
- Various Clinics
- And Crisis Centers
- College and Universities
- Shelter homes
- Could also take place in Art Studios
An important point to note here is that Art Therapy is for people belonging to any and every age group. They could be children aged around 5-14 years of age or maybe teenagers of 13 to 19. They can be working or non-working professionals in their 20s or they could be married, have a family, and aged around 35 to 40 years. People who are middle-aged, suffering from past trauma, or experience aging between 40-60 or even more.
Art Therapy is for everyone and it doesn’t discriminate between people based on their background or stories or any matter at all.
Art Therapies are performed by experienced professionals and psychologists who look after their progress and treatments. They understand the behavior of the person and interact with them in a kind manner.
To learn the details follow this link:
Benefits of Art Therapy
By now you would have understood what the mechanism is and how it works. The goal of Art Therapy is to provide people with mental and emotional comfort that is explored through their ways and experience.
So it is nothing but a benefit to them. To point out more such benefits let us look at more points further:
- Being involved in creative activities even for an hour has proven to work for every human being regardless of what state of mind they are in. This has been pointed out in a study that was published in 2016, which was named Journal of the American Art Therapy Association.
- Indulging in creative activities has helped people of all age groups and backgrounds to gain their emotional and mental stability.
- People have explored their talents through Art Therapies. For example, a person is disturbed mentally but is unable to express their thoughts and feelings to anybody. So the person involved in sketching and painting. The point is that what they express in the painting is the feelings and thoughts that they have hidden beneath them. But slowly, they grow with this new experience exploring a new quality of their thoughts and imagination. This is how Art Therapy has been proven to be supportive for people.
- Art Therapies have been more helpful for the children studying in schools as well. The children draw, paint, and bring out their imagination on a piece of paper. They learn new things and explore the artist within themselves.
- Art therapy has helped people cope with depression and trauma. They keep their mind engaged/busy, and learn to enjoy every moment spent there.
- It is not a place where Art therapies are provided to people individually. People of various age groups and backgrounds interact with each other, listen to their stories, look at their paintings, involve together in an activity, and shape their new experiences with day-to-day memories.
- People make friends, learn new things and boost their self-esteem through this activity. This is the reason why this activity is termed Therapy.
- They grow in this field and start their process with a fresh feeling. This indeed sounds to be therapeutic.
Points to Understand
- Art Therapy is not something like an Art Class in the School. There is no teacher to teach you the proper way and rules of drawing and sketching.
- Instead, Art Therapy involves trained professionals, who allow you to draw, paint and sketch whatever you wish to. Yes, day-to-day themes may change. But you are independent of all the thoughts and imaginations coming your way.
- Art Therapy does not help everyone who comes to therapy. Because people who make up their minds much before trying this therapy are not able to adapt to it. They are unable to open up and they do not accept it sometimes.
- Some people do not find themselves to be creative so they won’t even start. They behave skeptically.
- Art Therapy does not help people suffering from all medical and mental conditions. There are a few which are non-effective as well. For example, this treatment or therapy was found to be ineffective for people dealing with schizophrenia.
Therefore Art Therapy is very effective and beneficial to most people. If you know someone who is suffering from any of the above-mentioned symptoms or living with their past traumas, then it is the right time for them to join this therapy.
Few important things to know when you want to try a therapist for your mental health are:
- Seek help from trained and qualified professionals whenever you need it. The trained professional or a therapist will more likely be a psychotherapist or a clinical psychologist. They might have an additional degree in art therapy.
- You must contact your insurance and get the art therapy covered in your health insurance.
- You must take a few classes at first and understand the procedure to know if they are helping or not. Continue if they make you feel comfortable at the place.
- Some therapists must be specialized in previous cases of people with trauma or depression. See if their stories help you to cope with it or not.
- You will be asked to interact even a little bit, as they will ask you about the details of your drawing or sketching. You will need to explain your ideas and imagination to some extent.
And if some of you are interested in becoming an Art Therapist and want to pursue a career in the field ahead, let us look at the basic qualifications essential for this profession:
- If you are interested in pursuing a career as an Art Therapist, then look into the field and have an overview of all the courses involved.
- Go through the training and education process. Look for the professional courses and programs offered for this profession to practice being a therapist.
- More often licensed clinical psychologist practices in this field, so first have licensure in the field. One might also try to engage in some social works and psychotherapy courses.
- Anyone living in the United States can pursue programs offered by the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB). It allows the art therapists to practice having a license or board-certified programs. They can work in any state of the country through this process.
- The basic qualification one can need is a master’s degree in Art Therapy.
- Or they can also choose to have a degree in counseling, along with some additional program or a course in this field.
These were a few of the important points one who seeks help must know and also one who is interested in helping others must know.
There are more approaches to therapies that aim to help people with mental health, for example, music therapy, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, etc.
You can know more about them in the given link below: https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/approaches
We have talked about art therapy and how it helps people in their lives. What needs to be considered and understood have been discussed here and if you are curious to know more about Art therapies, the links have been provided for the specific references.
You can also refer to this link to learn more about the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB) offers: https://arttherapy.org/
**Thank you for reading this article**