What does Art Therapy mean for you?
The creative process involved in expressing one’s self artistically can help people to resolve issues as well as develop and manage their behaviors and feelings. It promotes the reduction of stress, and improves self-esteem and self awareness.
Art therapies are a form of psychotherapy utilising creative procsses, including visual art-making, drama, and dance/movement, with therapeutic intention to improve and promote physical, mental and emotional well-being.
You don’t need to be talented or an artist to receive the benefits, if you don’t know how to implement creative processes for self therapy, there are professionals that can work with you. Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of creating art or writing to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Art therapy uses art materials, such as paint, pencils, chalk, markers and almost anything else you can think of. Art therapy can consist of any creative process and any type of artistic project that you can think of from visual artworks, to writing, music or dance.
Art therapy involves the creation of art in order to increase awareness of self and others. It helps promote personal development, increases coping skills, and enhances cognitive function. Focusing on the creative process helps to reduce tension, stress and negativity by keeping your mind on more positive and enjoyable tasks.
Art and craft can boost self-esteem and help the artist achieve insight. Art therapy can encourage artists to:
- Express feelings that may be difficult to verbalise;
- Explore their imagination and creativity;
- Develop healthy coping skills and focus;
- Improve their self-esteem and confidence;
- Identify and clarify issues and concerns;
- Increase communication skills;
- Share in a safe nurturing environment;
- Improve motor skills and physical co-ordination;
- Identify blocks to emotional expression and personal growth.
Art that is created with the intention of self exploration allows different outcomes, rather than focussing on a specifically planned finished product. Art is about expressing oneself.
Self-expression reveals the sources of personal struggle, it helps you examine who or what situations spark emotional or spiritual discomfort. By discovering the barriers to your health and happiness, you have the potential to avoid or manage similar triggers in the future.
Creating a new piece of creative work transforms inner rage, pain, or emotional baggage into something more visual and definable. The creative process can help you visualise your opes and fears, and can make you become aware of emotions and thoughts that shouldn’t be ignored or suppresed. It can help provide a way to ‘vent’ negative emotions and relieve you of some of your stress or anxiety.
You might not always have control over how you react to situations, but when you sit down to create, you are in control, you craete your art how you think it should be. This control, while seeminly a small victory, can boosts your confidence and can greatly enhance the quality of life and the way you see it.
Creative art and craft can increase the artist’s self awareness and open their eyes to empathy towards others. The creative process helps a person cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences. It can help enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of creating art.
So, how do you use art to help yourself? What is your preferred style of ‘Art Therapy’? How do you express yourself in your art/crafts? Post a comment below and give your input…
If you would like more information on how to use creative processes or art journalling/craft as self-help art therapy, look for my updates in the e-book and guide I am currently writing!
Grace Hwang Lynch, Encouraging Self-Expression Through Art, 2003-2016,
The Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association, 2015,
What is Art Therapy? http://www.arttherapyblog.com/what-is-art-therapy/
Art & Wellness, Creating Art for self expression & healing, Posted April 15, 2012,
Amy Chovan, Creative Healing Through Self-Expression, May-June, 2010,