The Benefits Of Art Therapy
Does something keep you up at night? thinking, worrying away, not knowing how to improve yourself to get over this hurdle, this stress… You’ve tried exercise, talking about it, hanging out with the people you love and who love you, but MAN, it’s still stuck in you! How can you move on? you’re feeling hopeless about coming to a resolution… but don’t! I’m here to help. Let’s talk about Art Therapy!
What is Art Therapy?
The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as:
…the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.
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. 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 behaviour, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. Art therapy integrates the fields of human development, visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms), and the creative process with models of counseling and psychotherapy. Wikipedia
Some Examples Of Art Therapy
- Drawing. Drawing out scenarios can help the mind work through problems in a way of expressing emotion without explaining it verbally(for those who have trouble communicating, Like Children!) After my near death experience my family had a counselor that helped us deal with a lot… it was very traumatic for us all, but especially hard for my two kids who at the time were 2 1/2 and a little over 3 1/2 when it happened. We worked with the counselor for a couple of years and my kids benefited from art therapy. She talked with them, asked them questions and had them draw and color certain scenarios which we learned a lot from. It’s a BIG help for anyone and I fully believe in it and appreciate the craft.
- Paint. same help as drawing. You can even turn on music and just create whatever pops into your mind. Music is powerful in aid to expression.
- Make collages of photos and words that describe how you feel about whatever is bothering you and explaining why you chose those images helps get the wording out. Sometimes we feel like there’s SO MUCH to be said that we don’t know where to begin and this technique helps with that.
- Decorate a box. You can put your troubles and worries into it. You can put positive/uplifting things into it and when you need a pick me up you can pull it out and look through it. OR you can decorate two boxes to practice both, these will help you sort through feelings/emotions.
- Writing. You can write Letter to things, people, yourself… Write poetry, journal, thank you notes/cards. If it’s too personal and you feel you cannot share these things then start by writing it out… then you may feel more inclined to sharing afterward when you’ve felt the positivity through this exercise. Share with your therapist, they’re there to help and not judge…
- A therapist may ask you to make masks that help identify who you are in certain situations… you can explain why you made the mask the way you did and this may help bring out the behavior and feelings to help resolve them.
- Make puppets to express different feelings and role-play with them (especially helpful to kids) Dr. Schwartz says this art therapy exercise is used to facilitate exploration, increased awareness and healing…My kids used this method as well after me near death experience.
- Pottery. Make figures, statues, things that give you a feeling, that help you work out your problems, like a tree can symbolize growth and nature, and when you look at your creation you can remind yourself of life as growth and surround yourself with nature to make you feel pure, earthly, and spiritual. (I’ve got a great pottery place you can go to if you’re in Minnesota, Fired Up Studios, click the link to find out more!… one of my aunt’s runs this place!)
- Make a beaded prayer necklace. Pray with your beaded creation when you’re feeling down and out and need love and strength.
- Garden. Helping something grow and creating life is a mood lifter and is therapeutic. Having to tend to it on a regular basis is good and healing for the soul.
Life can be hard as we all know, it’s great and comforting to know that Art Therapy is out there for everyone to express and work through troubles. I hope you can benefit from this therapy whenever you need.
Take care readers!
photo 1 by: arttherapyblog.com
photo 2 by: mariclearttherapy.com
photo 3 by: petrinahennessy.com