There are many potential benefits to art therapy, including but not limited to the following:
Increased sense of self-awareness
Greater sense of control
Increased sense of independence
Improvements in communication
Healthier, more positive body image
Improvements in social skills
Safe expression of difficult emotions
Increased problem-solving skills
Improved coping skills
Healing from trauma
A greater sense of connection (group art therapy)
Enhance sense of personal empowerment
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of art therapy is that it allows individuals to express things that they simply can’t put into words. The saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is particularly apt with regards to art therapy. Sometimes a drawing or painting is much more powerful and revealing than fifty minutes of dialogue.
Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, coloring, or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art. With the guidance of a credentialed art therapist, clients can “decode” the nonverbal messages, symbols, and metaphors often found in these art forms, which should lead to a better understanding of their feelings and behavior so they can move on to resolve deeper issues.
When It’s Used
Art therapy helps children, adolescents, and adults explore their emotions, improve self-esteem, manage addictions, relieve stress, improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, and cope with a physical illness or disability. Art therapists work with individuals, couples, and groups in a variety of settings, including private counseling, hospitals, wellness centers, correctional institutions, senior centers, and other community organizations. No artistic talent is necessary for art therapy to succeed, because the therapeutic process is not about the artistic value of the work, but rather about finding associations between the creative choices made and a client’s inner life. The artwork can be used as a springboard for reawakening memories and telling stories that may reveal messages and beliefs from the unconscious mind.
What to Expect
As with any form of therapy, your first session will consist of your talking to the therapist about why you want to find help and learning what the therapist has to offer. Together, you will come up with a treatment plan that involves creating some form of artwork. Once you begin creating, the therapist may, at times, simply observe your process as you work, without interference or judgment. When you have finished a piece of artwork—and sometimes while you are still working on it—the therapist will ask you questions along the lines of how you feel about the artistic process, what was easy or difficult about creating your artwork, and what thoughts or memories you may have had while you were working. Generally, the therapist will ask about your experience and feelings before providing any observations.
How It Works
Art therapy is founded on the belief that self-expression through artistic creation has therapeutic value for those who are healing or seeking deeper understanding of themselves and their personalities. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapists are trained to understand the roles that color, texture, and various art media can play in the therapeutic process and how these tools can help reveal one’s thoughts, feelings, and psychological disposition. Art therapy integrates psychotherapy and some form of visual arts as a specific, stand-alone form of therapy, but it is also used in combination with other types of therapy.
What to Look for in an Art Therapist
An art therapist has the minimum of a master’s degree, generally from an integrated program in psychotherapy and visual arts at an educational institution accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The initials ATR after a therapist’s name means he or she is registered with the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB). The initials ATR-BC means the therapist is not only registered but has passed an examination to become board-certified by the ATCB.
I am not a blogger … not even close… maybe one or two posts a year.
I write most days … in a journal…. I have contemplated sharing my entries but that means doing it twice….
I was given a beautiful Chrissy present of a 365 journal which has a little prompt for each day and today’s journal was about fashion faux pas. It suggested I do a drawing of it so …. here it is 🙂 PS: I just randomly open a page to see what is there and go for it!
But I did have fabulous hair! Must go now and look for that photo 🙂
As I contemplate another click of the annual clock I, like many others reflect on the past year. The biggest change for me was my youngest daughter and her new baby (along with hubby) moved back to USA to live. We have always been close and enjoyed sharing our creative endeavours with each other. Sometimes days are just a little bit hollow without her nearby. Skype is my saving grace and I have enjoyed sharing milestones of her baby daughter’s journey, exploring life … the most recent of her walking …almost running already!
I have continued to study fine arts at Curtin University and completed the drawing unit this year. I have also completed about 1/3 of my Diploma in Counselling and went to an amazing 2 day Art Therapy Workshop at Latrobe Uni in November.
I have been working 2 days a week at our local Adult Learning Centre, one of the days teaching literacy to adults … challenging and rewarding at the same time.
My art this year has taken a bit of a back seat as I was working on the days that the Mallee Artist’s meet and despite my endeavours to set up a new art group with some friends on an alternative day this has been a bit of a bust.
I am continuing to tangle to de-stress and I have big plans for a new exhibition late 2017 or early 2018. “Mothers Garden” is something I have re-imagined on may occasions. My mother had a beautiful, unruly garden full of romantic plants … sadly I have no photos. So I am remembering the plants, making some studies and planning to create a nostalgic if not very accurate images of my favourite nooks and plants.
I enter the new year with a determination to complete my Diploma, find time to create and to be a tad healthier in my choices!!
Minna Gilligan, winner of the Nillumbik Prize, $5000
Indigo Hanlee, joint winner with Michael Thomas Hill, Chippendale New World Art Prize, $10,000.
Catherine Savage, winner, Stanthorpe Art Festival, $20,000
Jessica Roelofs, winner, Cardwell Art Prize
Julie de Ville, winner, Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, $30,000
Vittoria Oriana winner of the Kogarah Art Prize, $10,000
Harry Nankin, winner of the SCOPE Galleries Art Award, $5,000
Nancy Kiwat, winner of the Gab Itui Indigenous Art Award, $7,000
Scott Breton, winner of the Lethbridge 10,000, $10,000
Sally Robinson, winner of the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize, $50,000There are still a lot of prizes currently calling for entries – get organised this year and go to our website at art-prizes.com to check them out. You can print out the art prizes calendar by downloading the updated Art Prizes Planner. BTW: we currently have 190 prizes listed for 2016 and the number of prizes is growing each day.