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What Is Art Therapy?

“Do I have to be an artist to do art therapy?”

“Art therapy is just for kids, right?”

“I like to draw in my spare time… is that art therapy?”

There are some common misconceptions about art therapy, and these are just a few of them. It’s natural to have questions when it comes to art therapy! What exactly is art therapy? How does it work? And who does it help?

Let’s talk a bit about it!

What Is Art Therapy?

When it’s difficult to put our thoughts and emotions into words, art therapy helps bypass these barriers. Art therapy is an accredited therapeutic service that is practiced in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, and more.

Art therapy sessions are led by credentialed therapists who are licensed in the disciplines of art and therapy. Since art therapists are trained in both art and therapy, they can merge these disciplines together to help support patients in situations where talk therapy may not be the best option. Art therapy can be used in combination with other types of therapies as well.

Art therapy can help people of all ages cope with a variety of life’s challenges. It helps to connect the heart, mind, body, and soul and promotes self-exploration through creativity.

Working with an art therapist provides a supportive setting for patients to process feelings and emotions, ease anxieties, build self-esteem, reduce stress, and get support with a variety of concerns. It’s also an effective therapy to support people who are seeking growth spiritually and creatively.

How Does Art Therapy Work?

The process of art therapy works by providing a non-threatening, creative, exploratory experience for the patient. Talk therapy is difficult for some people, and creating art in a therapeutic setting is an amazing alternative for expressing emotions, feelings, and thoughts.

This is what makes art therapy unique. It goes beyond talk therapy by inviting

your inner voice, inner wisdom, and inner psyche to emerge through a variety of creative techniques. This has the potential to awaken new realizations, relieve tension, identify new solutions and ways to cope, and gain new perspectives.

An art therapy session is tailored to the patient. A session might look like:

  • Using various media and art forms like painting, drawing, making collages, or crafting.

  • Using symbols, pictures, line, shape, and color.

  • Using movement, drama, music, and metaphor.

  • Writing down thoughts, building a sand tray, forming clay, or scribbling.

An art therapy session typically begins with your therapist getting to know your needs, goals, and desired outcomes.

Who Can Benefit From Art Therapy?

Individuals of any age and background can benefit from art therapy. Art therapy helps adults, adolescents, children, couples, groups, and families. People from all walks of life can benefit from art therapy, and you don’t need any previous experience in art at all. Your art therapist will guide the session and use their expertise to tailor the session to the individual or group.

According to an art therapy study, 90% of cancer patients in the study reported that working with an art therapist had a positive effect on them. 36% reported that art therapy exercises were calming and relaxing. Patients also reported feeling less tired after engaging in creative activity, despite feeling tired prior to the activity, suggesting that art therapy sessions can improve energy levels. The person’s demographic information had no notable effect on the results of the study, showing that art therapy can be beneficial to anyone.

If you’d like to learn more about art therapy or schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 502-385-4151 or fill out this form and we’ll be in touch.

You can read more about art therapist Stephanie here.

We look forward to serving you!

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