“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

Art is usually considered as something for either professionals or kids, but as something inappropriate for adults. We invite you to break this assumption and learn how art therapy can benefit your personal development.

What is art therapy?

Art therapy is an expressive therapy that uses creative process to raise personal awareness and improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It is based on personality theories, human development, psychology, and art education. Art therapists are specialists trained in both art and psychological therapy.

Though there are other types of expressive therapies (such as the performing arts, music, dancing), art therapy typically uses visual forms of art, such as painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, etc.

How can it help?

Artistic self-expression can help resolve psychological issues, reduce stress and tension, to improve self-esteem and awareness, as well as influence feelings and behaviours.

Art therapy can be used for counselling by therapists, healing, treatment, rehabilitation, and psychotherapy. Broadly speaking, it can be used to massage one’s inner-self in a way that may provide the individual with a deeper understanding of him or herself.

What is specific about art therapy is that visual images not words are used as a way of communication. Often, people experiencing psychological traumas or undergoing life challenges have difficulty to express themselves verbally. While the conscious mind might avoid facing painful or disturbing experience or we don’t have words to express our feelings, visual imaging can make us aware of the situation and help in resolving it.

Expressive arts therapy doesn’t have to be used only as a treatment. It can help relieve stress or tension, or it can be used as a mode of self-discovery. Your art can tell you many new things about yourself that you might have no idea about.

Who is art therapy for?

Everyone can use art therapy. Art therapists can work with people of all ages: individuals, couples, families, groups and whole communities.

You don’t need to be talented to do it. The goal is not necessarily to create a masterpiece but to express yourself using art as a medium.

Art therapy can be especially beneficial to children as they are usually less capable and less comfortable expressing themselves in words.

It can help improve various mental and physical symptoms including, but not limited to, reducing pain, anxiety, and tension. It can be beneficial to those who have mental disorders, severe or light emotional abuse, cancer, post traumatic stress disorders, people who are bipolar, and a variety of other serious ailments.

Art therapy can also help people with their social skills, especially to those who are withdrawn, shy, or have difficulties socializing with others.

Practice

Art therapist can help you a lot with self-understanding and give you guidance in improving yourself. Although, if you don’t have the opportunity to work with a specialist, there are many things you can do on your own.

Here is advice from an art therapist Victoria Nazarevich:

  • Tired – draw flowers;
  • Angry – draw lines;
  • Feel pain – sculpt;
  • Bored – fill paper with different colours;
  • Sad – draw rainbow;
  • Feel tension – draw patters;
  • Frustrated – draw roads;
  • Lack energy – draw landscapes;
  • To understand your feelings – draw self-portrait;
  • To understand yourself and you your feelings – make a collage;
  • To concentrate on your thoughts – draw making dots;
  • To find optimal solution – draw waves and circles;
  • Get stuck and want to move forward – draw spirals;
  • Want to concentrate on your goals – draw nets and targets.

Let your creativity flow to discover yourself!