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How Does Art Therapy Work?

Dec 16

What Is Art Therapy & How Does It Work?

Many folks out there are usually unfamiliar with art therapy. They seek help to address a deep sense of discontent with one or more aspects of their lives. Often, traditional talk therapy progress has halted or there is a communication barrier present, rendering traditional talk therapy useless. Art therapy, in my opinion, is the purposeful application of art techniques and materials to address areas of growth and development in persons.


The Role Of The Visual Arts In Therapy

Art therapists are master's degree holders with training in human development, mental disorder evaluation and diagnosis, psychology, counseling and art therapy theory, studio art, ethics, and cultural competency. A qualified art therapist can analyze a client's requirements and then customize objectives and therapies to meet those needs. The art therapy experience of one individual will most likely be very different from that of another. A client with Autism who is having communication issues, for example, has quite different requirements than a cancer patient who is attempting to make sense of his or her medical tragedy. Art therapy may help people of all ages and backgrounds enhance their quality of life. What stays constant is the importance of visual art expression in acquiring insights and growing self-awareness that assist the client's progress.


Emotions & The Brain

The amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions, is also responsible for processing visual and sensory data. Human emotions are complex, and being overwhelmed by them can have negative consequences for sleep, food, relationships, learning, motivation, productivity, nervous system reaction, and even physical sickness. Those who are overwhelmed by their emotions may try to avoid them, as well as the situations that trigger them. Attempts to do so can lead to maladaptive behaviors and coping techniques, which can obstruct personal progress and quality of life. Because emotions, as well as sensory input and images, are processed in the amygdala, the latter two can be used to assist people better understand their emotions and enhance their capacity to manage them. Overwhelm, as well as the desire to avoid them, reduces as people grow more adept and secure in managing their emotions. As a result, reliance on maladaptive behaviors and coping techniques is reduced.


Art Therapy

What Is The Process Of Art Therapy?

Art materials and guidelines are used by an art therapist to elicit sensory reactions and develop imagery that is directly linked to emotions. This method allows a person to re-experience emotions in a way that allows them to organize their feelings and create a narrative around a traumatic event. It is therefore feasible for words to develop that allow communication to take place. The art therapist's ultimate objective is to assist the client in gaining personal insight, self-awareness, and new coping skills that will improve their level of functioning and quality of life.


What Art Therapy Isn't

Therapeutic art creating is not the same as art therapy. While most of us can agree that producing art has intrinsic healing advantages, the benefits of making art on your own vs making art with the help of a trained art therapist are not the same. To be clear, both are advantageous. The outcome, however, is different because of the therapeutic relationship that has been built between the art therapist and the client. First, rather than merely producing art that feels good or boosts mood, an art therapist is educated to analyze, diagnose, and design a treatment plan that acts as the therapy's guideline. Art therapists know which art methods and materials best address a client's individual needs and objectives, and how to use them strategically in therapy.


Stay Calm & Create Art

Many people are perplexed by the casual usage of the phrase art therapy to describe coloring books or an evening at a wine and painting event. Why? Simply because people feel uplifted and rejuvenated after participating in such activities and have experienced the calming effects of doing so. However, there is a distinction to be made between art therapy and therapeutic art creating. In several areas, using the phrase "art therapy" to denote anything other than treatment provided by a trained art therapist is technically unlawful.