Art therapy is a modern form of therapy. It replaces the traditional therapy model by making use of imaginative structures. It is generally combined with other forms of psychotherapy. Although more beneficial for children, especially those who have trouble expressing their emotions, art therapy can be used with adults as well. Everyone can be creative in some form or the other. Therefore, what art therapy aims to do is, provide people the opportunity to think and act creatively. For this purpose, it uses a variety of modalities such as clay, paint, paper, color pencils etc.
It has the following benefits –
- Self-exploration: Art therapy offers a means of catharsis, by providing an insight into feelings that one might not have been previously aware of.
- Self-worth: The entire process (creative and analytical) involved in the creation of an artwork and then seeing a tangible end product provides a sense of fulfillment.
- Empowerment: Art therapy allows one to express one’s emotions and fears that one might not have been able to verbally. Thus, by allowing a sense of control over one’s feelings, it provides a sense of empowerment.
- Brain connectivity and plasticity: By encouraging creative thinking, art therapy simulates the process of creation of new pathways in your brain.
- Stress buster: Artistic and creative activities help you forget your problems and calm down. It provides you a mental escape and helps you connect with yourself better.
- Mental health: Art therapy improves the mental health of people suffering from other illnesses or traumatic experiences as well. Art therapy has benefits for – cancer patients; survivors of violence; substance abuser and addicts; people suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and other emotional issues. It also helps people deal with relationship issues.
- Rapport Formation: It serves as a great tool for ice breaking, especially with children.
Art therapy is not a tool for aiding healing, but an instrument for promoting mental well-being.