Art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic connection.
Art therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensor-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.
Who are art therapists?
Art therapists are master-level clinicians who work with people of all ages across a broad spectrum of practice. Guided by principled standards and scope of practice, their education and supervised training prepares them for culturally proficient work with diverse populations in a variety of settings.
Honoring individuals’ values and beliefs, art therapists’ work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems, as well as individuals seeking emotional, creative, and spiritual growth.
Art therapists can work with individuals, couples, families, and groups in diverse settings. Some examples include:
- Veteran’s clinics
- Private practice
- Psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities
- Community clinics
- Crisis centers
- Forensic institutions
- Senior communities
There are 5 main types of art therapy:
How does art therapy help the distressed?
Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities invite alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can circumvent the limitations of language. Visual and symbolic expression gives voice to experience and empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation.
Art therapy can help people with chronic/terminal illness: As art therapy helps in expressing feelings, it can also help patients to regain their sense of freedom and control. – People who cannot express their feelings: People who cannot express their feelings can use art therapy to show their emotions without any verbal communication.