Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that integrates the visual arts into treatment. Although people began researching the concept in the late 1900s, art therapy became a formal discipline in the 1940s, when a growing number of psychologists and other health professionals realized that art it could have a valuable place in psychiatric treatment.
Arts therapy is practiced in nations around the world, under the auspices of organizations such as the American Arts Therapy Organization (AATA), and it is relatively easy to find an art therapist if you are interested in exploring this treatment for yourself.
Art therapy has been practiced in homeless shelters.
Humans have been making art for thousands of years, and the basic tenet of art therapy is that making art is inherently empowering, healing, and cathartic.
Art can be used to express a variety of emotions, including those that can sometimes be difficult for the patient to articulate. By integrating art into a treatment program, an art therapist hopes to gain more information from the patient while helping them improve.
Arts therapy can help children express emotions that may be difficult for them to verbally articulate.
In addition to being practiced in a private office, art therapy can also be found in hospitals, schools, homeless shelters, and other facilities with emotionally challenged or vulnerable populations.
By involving their patients in the creative process, art therapists often evoke strong emotions and intense personal analysis on the part of the patient.
While the process of making visual art is cathartic, it also creates a visual reward and record for the client, allowing them to see or feel the issues being worked on.
Someone could use art therapy as a way to relax.
An arts therapy session can take several forms. Generally, the therapist conducts a preliminary session to talk with the patient and assess his needs.
In the art session, the therapist provides appropriate tools and supplies so that patients can work on sculpture, painting, drawing, pastels, charcoal, collage, etc. If a patient has a disability, the art therapist adapts the session to that disability; for example, people without the use of their hands can work with special tools designed to be held in the mouth or with the feet.
The patient is encouraged to create whatever they want, or an art therapist can provide a kind of homework that the two of you can discuss at the end of the session.
Different art therapists have different approaches; some, for example, may participate in talk therapy while the patient works, while others remain quiet and ask questions or speak when the artist is not at work.
Art often conveys clear visual messages that can be very obvious, but can also be more subtle, and exploring subtlety is a crucial part of arts therapy.
In many countries, there are clear educational requirements that must be met before someone can offer art therapy. These requirements are generally set by organizations such as the AATA, which focus on promoting professional standards for the discipline.
erapists can choose art therapy concentrations, such as working with children or the disabled, or they can take a broader approach, depending on personal taste.
Art therapy encourages people to create art as part of a therapeutic process.