What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy, a hybrid discipline largely influenced by the fields of art and cognitive psychology, utilizes the creative process through various pieces of art produced in therapy. With the expertise of third-party art therapists, the objective is to help individuals learn to self-regulate, explore negative emotions, resolve emotional issues, increase self-esteem, and improve interpersonal skills. 

The effectiveness of art therapy programs depends on the accessibility of the artists who produce them. Unfortunately, many people with psychological issues are too embarrassed or afraid to access art therapy programs, so an important component of art therapy is mostly access to the actual creative program.

We talked to experts from Mindkshetra Art Therapy to find out more about the art therapy process and its benefits.

How Is Art Therapy Effective In Treating Psychological Conditions? 

In most cases, the use of art therapies, particularly expressive art, is helpful for those suffering from psychological issues that are related to mood swings, anxiety, depression, fear, stress, or other types of similar problems. 

For example, some people who are frustrated or angry with someone else and wish to lash out negatively find that visual art, such as painting or collage, is an effective method for expressing their anger. 

In another case, a depressed person may be drawn to an inspirational work of art that inspires them to overcome past problems or seek hope for the future.

Why Is Art Therapy Effective In The Treatment Of Health Issues? 

In general, there are several benefits to the use of art in therapy. First, art can heighten and diversify our senses, especially the sense of touch and creativity. Second, art can stimulate the imagination and promote relaxation.

Are There Any Situations Where Art Therapy Is Inappropriate Or Is Better Suited To Another Strategy? 

There are situations where the mere addition of an artistic setting can cause a relapse. Therefore, when a patient is advised to use an art therapist instead, it is important that the patient fully understands the added benefit of this professional intervention. This is especially true when art classes are offered in a public venue such as a school, museum or even a church. If you choose to attend such an art class, it is important that you feel comfortable with the teacher and have a positive experience with your progress.

Can Art Therapy Help My Loved One? 

Art therapy can benefit anyone regardless of age, gender, cultural background, personality issues, or disability. It has been proven that art therapy can even help those who are suffering from severe mental illness. 

Art therapy can help by encouraging your loved one to engage with his or her feelings and emotions, providing them with an outlet for creativity, encouraging the individual to change negative behaviours, or just help them to relax and think differently.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Support Myself And Improve My Mental And Emotional Health?

As previously mentioned, art therapy is not intended to substitute conventional psychiatric treatment. However, it can supplement treatment if an individual is having difficulty functioning in his or her daily life due to a diagnosed mental disorder or other physical condition. 

For example, if an artist is having difficulties with creativity, they may benefit from discussing their creative difficulties with a therapist who can provide therapeutic suggestions and tools to assist them in their artistic ability.

Would Art Therapy Be A Good Fit For Me? 

It is important to remember that art therapy is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment, nor is it a substitute for traditional therapy. Before enrolling in an art class, the individual must be honest about their desire to make positive changes in their lives for the better. 

Many times people find that they can benefit more from an artistic approach to their mental and emotional health than from a medical perspective. There is no reason that a patient cannot enjoy being as much as someone who is undergoing chemotherapy or receiving physical therapy.

What Can Art Therapy Do For Me? 

Art therapy can help those who suffer from debilitating feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, sadness, guilt, or other negative feelings. For example, art therapy may be particularly effective for those who experience post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Art can also help those with cancer, chronic pain, or arthritis feel less isolated and neglected and for many, art therapy may also be a means to release past emotions or to cope with difficult events in a safe, non-threatening way.