Ever heard of Art therapy? While you may have practiced drawing or worked in an adult coloring book, Art therapy is a whole new world of healing. Art therapy is a licensed mental health profession in which we use the creative process alongside psychotherapy techniques to be able to help people through and navigate life challenges. Art therapists are master’s or doctorate level, trained clinicians who support their clients with a multimodal approach that has enormous benefits.
Now, you may be thinking, as am I, drawing and painting and anything art is not me. However, Art therapy can be for anybody and everybody- you don’t have to be an artist or artistic at all to do it! The art therapist is able to lead you through sessions with different techniques and materials and help unleash that creative energy and power inside of you to be able to access those thoughts and feelings that may not be so easy to talk about and there are sometimes no words for
Alternative means to therapy can be more than just sitting down and talking about it. There aren’t always words to encompass the complexities of our lives.
How is it different from different kinds of therapy? Well, it’s definitely a little different from traditional talk therapy. rIn addition to talking with your therapist in sessions, you are also making art. Art within an art therapy session can come in all forms. Something that may not look like Starry Night to you can represent a whole story to another. Additionally, when I think of art therapy, I think of painting, however, it goes beyond a brush and a canvas. Drawing, clay, fabrics, and so much more also can be used in sessions.
One of the most powerful things about art therapy is being able to track your progress. Because there is an art piece, you are able to reflect back on previous sessions. Whether it be two weeks, two months, or a year ago, with the art, you are really able to reflect on changes made in the art that connects with changes made in your life although not impossible, it can be more challenging to do this in talk therapy where you are trying to remember exactly where you were at mentally. A physical piece of art can remind you of and show you so much about yourself and how much you’ve grown.
As mentioned before, the “progress” isn’t about having a beautiful, gallery-worthy art product. Just like life, art can be ugly and difficult. It’s more about leaving your self-judgment behind and allowing yourself to freely and openly access that creative part of yourself.
As adults and young adults, we don’t allow ourselves to play and think freely. Allowing yourself this time to be creative is so important. Being able to reconnect with your inner child can be really therapeutic and healing. Not only this but making art creates new neural pathways to be able to practice new ways of doing things, expand the boundaries of what is possible in life, and actively creatively problem solve life’s issues.
Whether you are trying to reconnect with a part of yourself that has been lost or trying to discover a new part of yourself, Art therapy can be extremely beneficial for you. Often, those who are in Art therapy have said that just one session can truly make you feel better.. Whether it clears your head, relaxes your body, or makes you feel ready to face the new challenges ahead of you, art therapy has amazing healing properties.
Although the short-term benefits seem amazing, Art Therapy has a lot of long-term benefits as well. Art therapy helps people process their thoughts and emotions so much easier without necessarily having to talk about them. For many people, it can be really difficult to talk about inner problems or demons that you may be struggling with. As comfortable as you may feel with your therapist, sometimes saying things out loud can feel impossible. Art Therapy gives people the opportunity to access those difficult feelings nonverbally and playfully, while at the same time processing them with the Art Therapist.