What is Art Therapy?Art therapy is one of many modalities that is capable of helping guide you to health and happiness.
"Art therapy is 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." (American Art Therapy Association, 2012, Online).
Art therapy is an expressive language of the conscious and the unconscious minds. The pursuit of art can be accomplished through various mediums including: sculpting, drawing, mosaics, painting, clay making, encaustic, collage, mixed media, journalling, music and a variety of other art/creative modalities.
Art therapy can be instrumental in assessing and treating a variety of psychological matters.
"Art therapy is used with children, adolescents, adults, older adults, groups, families, veterans, and people with chronic health issues to assess and treat the following: anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems; substance abuse and addictions; family and relationship issues; abuse and domestic violence; social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness; trauma and loss; physical, cognitive, and neurological problems; and psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness." (American Art Therapy Association, 2012, Online).
Art therapy is another instrument and possibility in the scope of promoting psychological health and well being.
Some of the benefits include:
- facilitates positive self-expression, feelings and emotions
- an enhanced positive perspective on your life
- promotes a sense of personal independence, self-reliance and self-sufficiency
- assists in working through a difficult situation and experience(s)
- provides an opportunity to express non-verbally aspects of one life that might feel otherwise difficult to express or share
- Give some personal insight into a situation or lived experience(s)
- Promotes other ways of coping and problem solving skills
- Facilitates overall insight, empathy, acceptance, self-compassion, loving kindness
- Proven to assist with managing, exploring and problem solving around traumatic experiences
- Empowers and gives voice
- Facilitates focus, and decreases frustrations
"Numerous case studies have reported that art therapy benefits patients with both emotional and physical illnesses. Case studies have involved many areas, including burn recovery in adolescents and young children, eating disorders, emotional impairment in young children, reading performance, childhood grief, and sexual abuse in adolescents. Studies of adults using art therapy have included adults or families in bereavement, patients and family members dealing with addictions, and patients who have undergone bone marrow transplants, among others. Some of the potential uses of art therapy to be researched include reducing anxiety levels, improving recovery times, decreasing hospital stays, improving communication and social function, and pain control." (American Cancer Society, 2012 Online).
Research has shown that art therapy has been used quite successfully to help children learn to effectively communicate, have improved concentration, improved behaviours and develop closer relationships. It has shown to improve moods, promote relaxation, and decrease disruptive behaviours and attitudes. Randomised control trial research shows that art therapy helped improve coping strategies." (Penny Brohn Cancer Care, 2011, Online).
REFERENCES American Art Therapy Association (2009) Who is helped by art therapy. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://www.americanarttherapyassociation.org/upload/whoarearttherapists2009.pdf
American Cancer Society (2012) Find support & treatment, The most reliable cancer treatment information: Art therapy. Retrieved February 26, 2012, from http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffectsComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/MindBodyandSpirit/art-therapy
Mullin, J., Grandin, T. (2012) Drawing autism. New York: Mark Batty Publisher
Penny Brohn Cancer Care (2011) Art therapy. Retrieved February 25, 2012, from http://www.nhs.uk/ipgmedia/national/Penny%20Brohn%20Cancer%20Care/Assets/Arttherapy(PBCC).pdf ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Braman, O. R. (1997) The oppositional child. Indiana: Kidsrights
Bloch, D. (1993) Positive self-talk for children, Teaching self-esteem through affirmations, A guide for parents, teachers, and counselors. New York: Bantam Books
Deaver, S., & McAuliffe, G. (2009). Reflective visual journaling during art therapy and counseling internships: A qualitative study. Reflective Practice, 10(5), 615-632.
Gussak, D. (2006) Effects of art therapy with prison inmates: A follow-up study. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 33(3), 188-198
Ponteri, A., K. (2001). The effect of group art therapy on depressed mothers and their children. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 18(3), 148- 157.
Smeijsters, H., & Cleven, G. (2006). The treatment of aggression using arts therapies in forensic psychiatry: Results of a qualitative inquiry. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 33(1), 37-58
Walsh, S. M., Martin, S. C., Schmidt, L. A. (2004) Testing the efficacy of a creative-arts intervention with family caregivers of patients with cancer. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 36: 214-219.