Art Therapy

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Question: What is Art Therapies?

Answer: Art therapies can be described as a “form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process to improve a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

You don’t need to be Van Gogh or Picasso to take part in arts therapies, in fact, you don’t need to have an artistic bone in your body to benefit from art therapy (which is great news if you're like me and struggle with the simplest of stick figures).

Anyone can benefit from arts therapies (both young and old), as it allows communication to flow more freely and allows you explore the feelings you may have difficulty putting into words (you know the old saying; actions speak louder than words).

What you can't verbalise, you can express creatively, and with the help of your therapist, you can work through any 'messages' your art seems to be expressing. Arts therapies can help provide a “safe” way to share emotions such as anger or grief (or any other emotion for that matter, that can be perceived as “negative”). Arts Therapies gives you a VOICE

Art therapies is a wonderful way to resolve any issues you may be experiencing, manage behaviours and/or feelings, reduce stress/anxiety, and can also help to increase your self-esteem, not to mention improve your awareness. I also use arts therapies in sessions to create tools that support well-being, as well as the use of sensorimotor arts therapies such as guided drawing and clay field therapy support the awareness of what is happening in our bodies, and encourages the expression of the motor impulses of trauma that is held in our bodies. This allows the development of new neurological pathways around the trauma to significantly improve healing and well-being. Click here to find out more on my website.

In today's society, it is very easy to feel completely overwhelmed with just how hectic life can be. Life today, can hold so much pressure for people, and through the use of art therapies, it allows people the opportunity to “slow down” and look into any issues they may be experiencing.

For those thinking art therapies couldn't possibly benefit them, think again. Art therapies covers such a broad range of issues; such as;

  • addictions

  • anxiety

  • attention disorders

  • bereavement and loss

  • bipolar disorder

  • dementia

  • depression

  • eating disorders

  • physical disability

  • post-traumatic stress disorder

  • relationship issues

  • substance abuse

  • trauma

Art therapies can take on many creative outlets, and it is usually the client who will choose the medium, based on which one they are drawn to. Some of these mediums include;

  • Painting - paints can be tricky to control, so painting could be used for someone who has control issues.

  • Drawing - helps with observing and interpreting feelings and/or experiences.

  • Sculpture - a tactile medium that allows people to construct something that could represent a person, feeling or event.

  • Collage – arranging pictures or headlines from magazines to create a particular scenario and could be used for people who have trouble making decisions or possibly suffer from perfectionism anxiety.

  • Photography - this medium doesn't necessary involve taking photos, it can also be looking at photos as a way to draw out feelings, thoughts or memories.

  • Textiles - the texture and softness of fabric can offer comfort and reassurance.

  • Writing - can help with organising thoughts and feelings.

  • Singing, music, and sounds - finding a song to match your mood/thoughts, and creating your own music/lyrics can be extremely expressive

  • Drama - acting or role-playing to show an event or a response

  • Movement, dance, and gesture - a mode of expression that allows you to move your body in response to a thought, moment, or experience

Creating art can not only help people work through their problems, but can also help take their mind off their daily concerns by letting them focus on a more pleasant activity. Sounds like a win/win situation to me.

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page where I regularly share articles about the benefits of arts therapies. 

For information on becoming an arts therapist, please see below;

ANZACATA: click here

MIECAT: click here

Institute for Sensorimotor Arts Therapies: click here

Western Sydney: click here

La Trobe, Melbourne: click here