What is Art Therapy? ... or ... how Art Therapy can help you.
Art Therapy can be divided into 2 categories ...
... general and specific therapeutic.
Clear evidence is demonstrated everyday, within hospitals, clinics and any health care facility, that access to art is beneficial for well being and therefore a welcome adjunct to traditional therapies.
Art definitely reduces all kind of clinical symptoms, including stress, depression even in the healing and improving cancer patients.
Art activities are not limited to visual art, such as drawing or painting, music is a huge therapeutic tool, and so are poetry, sculptors, potters and where possible, dancers.
Art and creativity in general have a positive influence on our whole system.
(see also articles on alpha brain wave activity)
Very often recreational activities are based on art one way or the other...
My preferred way of spelling "recreation" is therefore > "Re-Creation", and I relate this mostly with art activities, where you re-create yourself with art, such a nice way of re-creation.
Interestingly enough, Art helps our mind to access the right hand side of our brain, which is not only our creative site, but also our regenerative one, and it is called the Alpha state.
When you are sick and have to rest, you automatically will drift into this Alpha brainwave state of mind, which helps to regenerate the body and mind.
This brings us to the second form of art therapy, the more specific one. All we do here is using above knowledge and combine it with techniques to bring about this state of regeneration, which goes hand and hand with: relaxation, better circulation, stronger immunity, more energy and so on....
Art therapy uses the creation or viewing of art to help people discover and express their feelings. For some people, music or poetry may be more suitable than the visual arts.
Unlike art for art's sake, which focuses on the finished piece, art therapy (which typically employs paint, clay, charcoal, pastels, or other art materials) focuses on the process of creation or expression ( self-expression) itself.
Moreover, the activity is undertaken primarily for its healing benefits rather than for the creative end result; in fact, the piece of artwork may never be shown to anyone outside the therapy session.
The act of creating a piece of art triggers internal activity that contributes to physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.
For people who are not able or ready to create art, going to an art museum or looking through art books can also be helpful: Simply viewing art refreshes the spirit and promotes relaxation.
While people have always expressed their feelings through art, art therapy as a profession has existed only a relative short time.
Art therapy can be incorporated with psychology (in which art is used to uncover hidden emotions) and physical therapy (which uses art to help build self-confidence and aid rehabilitation).
Child psychologists and family therapists often use art therapy because children have a hard time putting feelings into words.
Art therapy has also become a vital part of the activities offered in many nursing homes, long-term-care facilities, and hospices.
Art therapy helps healing in various ways:
First, the aesthetic quality of the work produced can lift a person's mood, boost self-awareness, and improve self-esteem.
Second, research shows that physiological functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, slow when people are deeply involved in an activity they enjoy. (This is the alpha state of the brain)
In addition, making art also provides an opportunity for someone to exercise their eyes and hands, improve eye-hand coordination, and stimulate neurological pathways from the brain to the hands.
Because art therapy uses a language other than words, it is often employed in treating patients with physical or emotional illnesses who have difficulty talking about their fears and hopes, or about their anger and other strong emotions.
The creation of art helps people get in touch with thoughts and feelings that are often hidden from the conscious mind. It is often easier to express yourself through another medium, instead of speaking out loud.
Art therapy sessions can take place one-on-one, in small groups or in work shop situations.
The art materials are usually provided, a comfortable place to work, and some technical advice is given.
Peaceful alpha - background music often adds to the atmosphere.
Time for planning, executing, sharing and discussing the work is included.
The act of creating art has intrinsic benefits.
By promoting feelings of achievement, the creation process automatically boosts self-esteem and self-confidence.
Stress reduction is also a significant benefit.
Studies have shown that repressing strong feelings can lead to a buildup of stress, and that stress can intensify pain and intensify the symptoms of various diseases.
Because art therapy helps people access their sub-conscious mind and release pent-up emotions, it has been found to be very useful in treating those suffering from stress and stress-related ailments.
Art therapy is also used as treatment for behavioural problems, and often serves as an ancillary treatment to psychotherapy, including those for drug and alcohol abuse.
Patients recovering from trauma or serious injury often find art therapy particularly beneficial, as do people with chronic illnesses, such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease.
How Art Therapy can help you?
Add a little Art to your life!
My recommendation >> Create something, or simply Join a Class or Group, and use the positive quality of art and related activities to enrich and fulfil your life.
Article supplied by the editor of use Nature - Dieter Luske
Art in itself is therapeutic - we acknowledge artists who facilitate creative art classes.
Example of a creative painting by Giselle - just looking at it is already Art Therapy :-)