Just as art itself, art therapy is a concept that can be defined in almost endless manners. The most condensed definition of art therapy perhaps simply explains it is a psychotherapy approach that uses applied visual arts in therapeutic settingsThis psychotherapy approach has been deemed effective by numerous types of patients after various extensive studies conducted throughout the world.
Art therapy has certainly gained prominence over the last few years. Perhaps because of how versatile it can be — there’s no need to possess artistic talents or skills to engage in art therapy. But most likely because adding the principles of art therapy to traditional treatment programs can assist the progress of patients with a broad range of different mental health and psychological conditions.
For instance, the methodology is highly effective among patients that have trouble with speech or language in general.
Art is popularly known as a great tool for people to express emotions without words, but also allows most of us to process complex feelings and find relief.From geriatric patients with dementia to children with autism and veterans, art therapy seems to benefit most people living stressful lives in modern societies.Yet, existing peer-reviewed research mainly highlights how art therapy can be key in treatment programs for conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Art therapy can assist individuals with these conditions because it promotes emotional release. Furthermore, in a fully immersive art creation process, individuals embark on journeys of self-discovery, which can be able to potentially reduce their emotional barriers. Those creative journeys can not only help patients better understand how to improve the ways they communicate with others and express their feelings, but also boost their ability to internalize and absorb important information for their recovery. The added benefit of art therapy for most people is that humans naturally have the ability to be creative and uniquely express themselves as long as there’s a willingness to do so.
Art therapy has another advantage: It tends to spark our body’s production of dopamine, which is the hormone we produce when have pleasurable experiences. While working with a licensed art therapist is the ideal choice in certain cases, there are various ways to explore art therapy without any professional help from the comfort of our homes. Some examples of art therapy modalities include journaling, coloring, working with clay, putting collages together, and playing musical instruments.