What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a division of the mental health field in which clients, facilitated by an art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, reduce anxiety, and increase self esteem.*
An art therapist has knowledge of visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms) and the creative process, as well as of human development, psychological, and counseling theories and
Who is it for?
Art therapy is for all ages, races, ethnicities, genders and abilities. If you can make a mark on a page you can participate in art therapy. Art therapists work in schools, hospitals, detention centers, nursing homes, and in the community.
During a session, art becomes a tool for communication. In art therapy, it is not important if the art looks good, it is about the process of making it as well as the meaning it has to the maker.
Art therapy can be helpful for those wishing to make positive changes in their lives perhaps connected to relationship challenges, anxiety, depression, stage of life issues, developmental challenges, behavioral and communication struggles, grief and loss, trauma and more.
How does it help?
A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a person’s functioning and sense of personal well-being.
Art can instill hope and boost mood. The act of making art is relaxing to many people and has been proven to have positive effects on brain function. The creative process engages a part of our brain that is typically not accessible when we use words thus it allows participants to make meaning of experiences in new ways that may have otherwise gone unseen in traditional talk therapy.
In art therapy, the art and the process of making it can become a metaphor for life. It can be a safe outlet for imagining solutions to tricky problems or it can be a tool for expressing difficult emotions that words can't begin to describe. With the support of an art therapist, clients learn valuable skills to gain mastery over their emotions and live the most joyful life they can.
*definition adapted from the American Art Therapy Association
*video footage provided by Gabi Blanco. Thank you Gabi!
Think Art Therapy might be right for you?
In her private practice, Carolyn uses creative expression to help you or your child gain awareness of thoughts, feelings and behaviors and to practice skills and strategies for living a joyful life. If you'd like to learn more about her approach and whether she may be a good match for you, get in touch for a free consultation.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield