The Art Therapy | Meaning and Benefits

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Art therapy is a form of therapy often used to manage psychological disorders. It refers to expressing an individual’s emotions through any form of art. Art therapy is believed to enhance mental health as it keeps the brain occupied into creativity so an individual’s thoughts are shifted from what hampers their mental well-being. Art therapy can be in any form; painting, drawing, photography, sculpture making etc. Art therapy is not as same as going to an art class. Art classes are usually the traditional form of classrooms where the aim is to learn new techniques and create artworks. Whereas, art therapy is more about an individual expressing their emotions and ideas through any form of art. An important factor to keep in mind is that individuals going for art therapies do not have to be artistic or professionals when it comes to creating the art. It does not follow any criteria or does not intend to achieve any artistic outcome.

Art therapy is considered beneficial in treating certain psychological disorders, such as: stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), any other medical condition or its side effects, eating disorders etc. Art therapists are trained professionals who conduct sessions with individuals to guide them along. Art therapy is also sometimes used simultaneously with group therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy as well. Now lets talk about how effective art therapy is; how much successful it is in terms of it’s aim. Different studies shows that art therapy has a mixed response. The success rate is somewhere in the middle; where it is effective in many cases and least effective in other cases. Studies conducted on individuals with depression have shown positive response of art therapy. The study suggests that art therapy has improved their self-esteem. Another study suggests that patients suffering with cancer and having on-going treatment have better perception towards life and are positively responding towards the treatment as well as working to improve their quality of life.

Like any other therapy, art therapy also has it’s concerns. Not many people, especially adults choose to actively participate in the therapy sessions. Many people refuse to go for any sort of therapy or counselling sessions, and some go under the pressure of family or friends with no personal interest or initiative. For which art therapy where it is required to openly express the emotions through creativity becomes extra difficult as a form of overcoming any mental disorder.

Art therapy is highly recommended to anyone struggling with their physical, mental or emotional well-being. This also opens up the opportunity to explore one’s interest and talents in art which may have not come into attention before taking the art therapy sessions. It is advised that individuals seeking to join art therapy sessions look out for professionals in this field. If it is difficult to find specific therapists who provide art therapy, then one contact any known counsellor or therapist. Discuss it with them and follow their advise to start art therapy sessions.