What is Art Therapy? A form of psychotherapy where emotions and thoughts are expresses symbolically through the creation of personal imagery. The art produced is reflected upon and explored with the guidance of an art therapist in order to work through areas of conflict and distress.
Art therapy provides a supportive environment where feelings can be expressed and understood. Art therapy encourages mastery and creativity, promotes personal development and self-esteem, and provides the opportunity to experience the satisfaction of achievement. Art therapy encourages the exploration of relationships and conflicts while promoting emotional and cognitive growth through self-expression.
Who can benefit from Art Therapy? Artistic talent is not needed. People of all ages, in particular those who have difficulty identifying feelings or expressing them verbally can benefit from art therapy. Individuals with behavior problems often have difficulty identifying or expressing emotions verbally.
Art therapy provides a way of exploring difficulties in a manner that is not threatening or intrusive. Therefore art therapy is also helpful when feelings or conflicts are too threatening to be faced directly. Issues can be externalized and safely resolved by the use of visual images.
How does Art Therapy change behavior? All behavior has meaning. Behavior is a way of communicating feelings and needs. Individuals can give form to negative feelings and behavior through working with art materials. Interactions with the art therapist facilitate the client’s awareness of patterns and the meaning of their behavior allowing the client to discover alternatives to negative behaviors.