Blog by www.verywellmind.com
What Is Art Therapy?
The use of artistic methods to treat psychological disorders and enhance mental health is known as art therapy. Art therapy is a technique rooted in the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being.
People have been relying on the arts for communication, self-expression, and healing for thousands of years. But art therapy didn’t start to become a formal program until the 1940s.
Doctors noted that individuals living with mental illness often expressed themselves in drawings and other artworks, which led many to explore the use of art as a healing strategy. Since then, art has become an important part of the therapeutic field and is used in some assessment and treatment techniques.
The goal of art therapy is to utilize the creative process to help people explore self-expression and, in doing so, find new ways to gain personal insight and develop new coping skills.
The creation or appreciation of art is used to help people explore emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and work on social skills.
Techniques used in art therapy can include:
- Doodling and scribbling
- Finger painting
- Working with clay
As clients create art, they may analyze what they have made and how it makes them feel. Through exploring their art, people can look for themes and conflicts that may be affecting their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
What Art Therapy Can Help With
Art therapy can be used to treat a wide range of mental disorders and psychological distress. In many cases, it might be used in conjunction with other psychotherapy techniques such as group therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Some conditions that art therapy may be used to treat include:
- Aging-related issues
- Eating disorders
- Emotional difficulties
- Family or relationship problems5
- Medical conditions
- Psychological symptoms associated with other medical issues
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)5
- Psychosocial issues
- Substance use disorder