What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy integrates psycho-therapeutic techniques and the creative process to improve mental health, self awareness and overall well-being. The American Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as “a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.” Art therapists utilize the process of art making and is not focused on creating a final product.
Working with an Art Therapist
As an art therapist, I use visual art media to help people who may struggle to communicate verbally or to express their feelings.
People who have been referred to me do not need to have experience of, or be good at art, it is simply used as a medium for confronting difficult emotions and to help with awareness and self-development.
Helping Children Break Through
Art therapy for children can provide kids with an easier way to express themselves since children are more naturally artistic and creative. A young child is likely to be more comfortable initially expressing him/herself with some crayons and markers, for example, than he/she is going to be at expressing emotions and feelings through words.
Coming to terms with a loss is one of the biggest challenges one may encounter in a life span. Often the traditional ways of communicating our experience fail. Non-verbal communication can offer the bereaved a more rounded holistic approach to an overwhelming situation. The arts can make a detour past a cognitive response to the sub-conscious emotive self that may help access the relearning and sense making of living a life in light of a significant loss.
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