Expressive Art Therapy is used to help people explore emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and work on social skills. Some of the techniques used in art therapy include:
• Coloring on Mandala
• Painting on Canvas
• Tie and Dye
• Dance and Movement
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.
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 problems
• Psychological symptoms associated with other medical issues
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• Psycho-social issues
• Substance use disorder
An art therapist may use a variety of art methods, including drawing, painting, sculpture, and collage with clients ranging from young children to older adults.
Clients who have experienced emotional trauma, physical violence, domestic abuse, anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues can benefit from expressing themselves creatively.
Some situations in which art therapy might be utilized include:
• Adults experiencing severe stress
• Children experiencing behavioral or social problems at school or at home
• Children or adults who have experienced a traumatic event
• Children with learning disabilities
• Individuals living with a brain injury
• People experiencing mental health problems
• In studies of adults who experienced trauma, art therapy was found to significantly reduce trauma symptoms and decrease levels of depression.
• One review of the effectiveness of art therapy found that this technique helped patients undergoing medical treatment for cancer improve their quality of life and alleviated a variety of psychological symptoms.
• One study found that art therapy reduced depression and increased self-esteem.
If you or someone you love is thinking about art therapy, there are some common misconceptions and facts you should know.
People do not need to have artistic ability or special talent to participate in art therapy, and people of all ages including children, teens, and adults can benefit from it. Some research suggests that just the presence of art can play a part in boosting mental health.
People often wonder how an art therapy session differs from an art class. Where an art class is focused on teaching technique or creating a specific finished product, art therapy is more about letting clients focus on their inner experience.
In creating art, people are able to focus on their own perceptions, imagination, and feelings. Clients are encouraged to create art that expresses their inner world more than making something that is an expression of the outer world.
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