The Healing Power of Art Therapy
The traditional cornerstones of mental health care include therapy and medication. Increasingly art therapy is also being utilized to enhance a patient’s treatment plan. Art therapy is beneficial in many areas where traditional treatment programs may fall short. It enhances physical, emotional, and mental well being by assisting in expression of emotions that are often hard to put into words. An art therapist can use a patient’s art to help them achieve insights, improve interpersonal skills, increase self-awareness, and boost self-esteem. This helps reduce tension and anxiety, which can relieve pain and set a strong foundation for the process of healing or coping with life-long disabilities.
Who can benefit?
Art therapy is extremely useful for a wide variety of people suffering from a range of mental health issues. The average person who is going through a stressful episode can use art to process difficult feelings and begin the healing process. Those with more serious mental health issues can benefit significantly from adding art therapy to their medication and talk therapy treatment plan. Children, who do not typically have the language development needed to express complex feelings, easily express them through art. And perhaps most interestingly, patients with Alzheimer’s respond very positively when presented with an opportunity to create, even if they had no interest in art in their younger years. They’re no longer self-critical which frees them up to enjoy creating art in a way not possible before. Patients who were formerly agitated, depressed, or angry are soothed and find purpose through the act of creation.
How to Find a Qualified Art Therapist
Not everyone needs an art therapist to enjoy the emotional benefits of making art. Many people find art helps them learn about themselves and work out personal issues in a safe, enjoyable way by simply creating something on their own or within a group. Anyone can benefit from making art, don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself “talented,” just let go and enjoy the process. You may surprise yourself with what you can do!
Anyone battling a more serious disability, such as depression, PTSD, or trauma, just to name a few, should seek out a qualified art therapist to compliment their course of treatment. Many mental health facilities already utilize art therapy. Additionally, the website Find-a-Therapist.com can be helpful in locating a certified art therapist near you. You can find out more about art therapy by visiting the American Art Therapy Association website.