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What Is Art Therapy?

Nov 3

As mentioned before, art is a way of expression for artists and people who are passionate about creating artistic expressions. Creating something that you feel inspired to create can be very satisfying.

Art therapy is the practice of using creative skills and processes to help individuals deal with mental health issues or perform healthier self-care practices. Rather than focusing on what kind of artwork someone should make, as an art therapist you focus more on how they are responding to stimuli and changing strategies to address underlying emotional concerns.

There are several reasons why having some form of art activity in your life can have positive benefits. It may reduce stress, improve concentration, enhance self-esteem, facilitate communication, and promote healing.

Having an understanding of the role that creativity plays in our daily lives can also aid in the perception of what sets an artist apart from anyone else. People who consider themselves artists often say that it makes them feel better when they do not get many compliments on their work, but rather than thinking this negatively about yourself, maybe look into whether there are ways that you could use your talent to help you cope with things or achieve personal goals.

This article will discuss some fundamental concepts of art therapy, board certification requirements, and the career opportunities available to art therapists.


History Of Art Therapy

In 1917, Dr Elsie McCollum worked with patients who suffered from severe depression by helping them identify shapes and patterns and then creating new designs using these shapes. She referred to this as therapeutic painting.

In 1942, British psychologist Carl Jung coined the term ‘art therapy’ for this type of activity. He considered it an effective way to help individuals work through emotional issues and reduce stress.

Since then, art therapists have continued developing and refining their practice in order to ensure that what they teach is evidence-based and works for people.

There are now over 70 accredited courses around the world offering either a degree or diploma level qualification in art therapy. These vary in length between two years and a whole career!

What makes someone qualify as an art therapist isn't just a love of putting together pictures but can include things like working with children with special needs, substance abuse problems or eating disorders, and treating trauma survivors.

This article will talk you through some of the basics of art therapy and how to become qualified as an art therapist.


Relationship Between Therapist And Patient

what is art therapy

As mentioned before, art is a way to express yourself. Creating something artistic is a great way to do this. Beyond just being an outlet for creativity, creating artwork can have other benefits, such as reducing stress and helping you understand yourself and your emotions.

Art therapy is a very special type of counseling that uses creative expression to help you work through mental health issues or past experiences. Rather than talking about what you’re feeling and trying to explain why you are having these feelings, you create something – usually a picture, sculpture, or piece of writing – to process your thoughts and feelings.

The artist is typically self-selected. This means that the individual choosing to be artists will pick their own topic and form, and they will choose how long it takes to complete the project. There may even be times when someone else completes the project for them!

There are two main types of art therapists: psychodynamic art therapists and humanistic art therapists. Psychodynamic art therapists use concepts from psychology in their sessions while humanistic art therapists focus more on letting go of psychological constructs like fear and guilt to gain insights into who you are as a person.

Both types of art therapists agree that creating art helps you connect with your innermost feelings and beliefs. By looking at the ways you design things, talk about things, and respond to situations, you bring your mind closer to understanding itself.


Therapy Focuses On

In art therapy, you can explore different media to address various issues. For example, talking about your emotions and feelings is one of the most common types of therapies.

Art therapists sometimes talk about it as “creative expression” or even just “expression.” It does not matter what style of artwork you make, nor do they care if you use a marker instead of crayon for your handiwork.

What matters is that you are using the medium to express yourself, and you are doing so with intention. This helps reduce emotional stress and allows you to work through things more effectively.

There are several reasons why art making can be helpful in terms of health and wellness. Many hospitals and clinics offer group art classes as part of their recovery programs. Others offer art sessions outside of class times to help you relax and focus.

Conversing about your experiences in the session can also be very therapeutic. You will not only learn something new, but you will feel better after sharing what has been bothering you.


Ways Of Working

what is art therapy

An art therapist is someone with at least a Masters degree in psychology who works using creative, artistic strategies to help you work through emotional issues or get past mental blockades.

Art therapy can be practiced either directly via creating artwork or indirectly by observing and analyzing paintings, sculptures, and other mediums.

There are several theories about how art helps us, but no one theory seems more accurate than another.

Some theories say that looking at art makes you feel better because it gives you an opportunity to process your emotions. Others believe that making art reminds you of things related to the subject matter or technique, which helps you connect with yourself and life. Some theorists believe that just doing something creative takes focus away from negative thoughts, giving you some peace.

Whatever effect the art has on you, research shows that it can have similar benefits as psychotherapy. Both use creativity and self-expression to deal with underlying feelings and tensions. And both can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.


Many people suffer in silence for fear of being judged or discouraged when they look into their innermost desires and hopes.

Art therapists do not give such judgments. They understand that every person’s dreams and aspirations are unique, so they offer nonjudgmental, open conversations about what you want out of life and what feels like the right next step for you.


Therapy Is Not The Same As


Many people consider art to be a form of self-expression or expression of emotions, but that isn’t what therapists do.

Therapists are professionals who help you work through emotional issues by exploring thoughts and feelings related to past experiences and helping you develop strategies for moving forward with your life.

Art can play an important role in therapy because it allows you to explore different themes, styles, and media (writing, drawing, painting, sculpture, etc.)

Making art during a session is a great way to begin connecting with yourself and others. Some artists say making art helps them process things more quickly and effectively.

There are many ways to use art therapeutically including creating art projects, doing artistic activities like scrapbooking or mixed-media work, looking at art, and talking about how ideas relate to each other and your life.

Research has shown that practicing mindfulness while engaging in creative activity can have benefits. You can choose from a variety of techniques to focus on what you are putting effort into, what materials you have access to, and how well you are performing a task.


Examples Of Art Therapy

Art therapists use creative expression, such as painting or drawing, music, poetry, theatre, sculpture, or other media to help you work through your emotions and issues. These are all mediums that can be modified and adapted to fit your needs.

Art is a way to reduce stress and deal with feelings. Creating something artistic gives your mind a chance to process what has made you feel stressed or angry and then to focus on moving past it.

Making art can also aid in understanding yourself and your thoughts. For example, looking at pictures or listening to songs that appeal to you can give you insight into parts of your life that have influenced you.

There are many ways to benefit from art therapy. It does not matter if you are very artistic or not – there are tools for everyone. This special practice has become increasingly popular due to its effectiveness in helping people.


Ways Of Working

what is art therapy

Like any profession, art therapy has various routes to work as an artist/therapist. Depending on your area of expertise and what kind of clients you want to see, there are many ways to go about it.

Most people agree that being able to identify emotions is a key part of being an effective therapist. Therefore, most psychology schools require students to take some form of psychotherapy before they can graduate. This could be individual or group counseling with a trained professional.

Some specialties within art therapy do not include requiring this, however. For example, medical artists develop their skills by practicing on patients, so they don’t need to be in a therapeutic relationship first.

Art therapists who focus more on creativity may not feel that needs applying to them. However, they must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social services or counseling to practice here!

What makes someone qualified as an art therapist?

That depends on where you live and what settings you're in. Some countries only accept professionals with doctorates, while others allow masters degrees and even bachelors alone!

In America, though, every state requires that individuals must hold either a bachelor's or master's degree along with certification. These certificates vary from organization to organization, but all emphasize similar concepts such as confidence, empathy, and respect.

These are important qualities for anyone wishing to help other people, which is why having a degree in art therapy is helpful.


Therapy Is Not The Same As

Many people consider art to be a form of expression or creativity, but that assumption is wrong. When we talk about creating artwork, what we mean is expressing yourself through your style and materials. Creating pictures and sculptures is expressive, but it is not therapeutic.

Art therapy is a practice that involves making artistic creations, but this time you use the process to address mental health issues. Rather than depicting something beyond the artist’s control, like a person, place, thing, or activity, an artwork can focus on things the artist is working with in their life at the moment.

It is very individualized intervention that depends on both the therapist and the patient. While some artists are good at eliciting emotional responses, others may want to create more peaceful images or landscapes. No one type of image is better than another, so many different styles can be used for the same purpose.

Therapists trained in art psychology understand how creating art can help patients deal with difficult emotions, reduce stress, and find new ways to express themselves. During treatment, therapists ask patients to bring their own objects or notes from outside sources and apply them to creative projects. This helps them connect with other parts of their lives and aids in self-reflection.