Art Therapy

for Individuals

Art heals by accepting the pain and doing something with it – Shaun McNiff

What is an Art Therapist?

Art therapists are trained extensively in the theories, principles and methods of psychotherapy, clinical practice and the therapeutic use of art. They employ a wide range of art media and creative activites to support clients in self expression and personal development. Art therapists have a deep understanding of how to facilitate therapeutic process and change through utilizing image, experience and interpersonal dynamics.

Artistic expression is far more than self expression and has much more astonishing power. Artistic creativity offers a source of inner wisdom that can provide guidance, soothe emotional pain and revitalize your being. More important it is a wellspring that enlivens, rejuvenates, restores and transforms and it exists within everyone for health and well-being. – Cathi Malchiodi, Art Therapist

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma, or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on art products and processes people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experience, enhance cognitive abilities and enjoy the life affirming pleasures of making art. – from the American Art Therapy Association web site

Art therapy provides a safe and non-threatening method for exploring feelings, thoughts and experiences through the use of a variety of art media. No previous art experience is necessary. There is a deep commitment to providing safety and trust within the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client.

Art therapy is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of individuals, families and communities by promoting health through direct involvement in the expressive arts.

Other therapeutic benefits of art therapy include:

Personal fulfillment
Creating something tangible can build confidence and nurture feelings of self-worth. Personal fulfillment comes from the creative and analytical components of the artistic process.

Art therapy can help people visually express emotions and fears that they cannot express through conventional means, and can give them some sense of control over these feelings.

Relaxation and stress-reduction
Chronic stress can be harmful to the mind and body. Stress can weaken and damage the immune system, cause insomnia and depression, and trigger circulatory problems (like high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats). It is also known that creative activity can increase brain levels of serotonin, an important chemical linked in battling depression. When used alone or in combination with other relaxation techniques like guided imagery, art therapy can effectively relieve stress.

Symptom relief and physical rehabilitation
Art therapy can help patients cope with physical pain. It can promote physiological healing when patients identify and work through anger, resentment, and other emotional stressors. It is an adjunctive therapy for pain management in the treatment of chronically and terminally ill patients.

– from Art Heals: The Power of Art Therapy by Erin Brazill, LCSW, ATR-BC

• Art Therapy with Children

• Art Therapy with Adolescents

• Art Therapy with Adults

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