What is Art Therapy?
‘Is it therapy for crayons?’ Yes, I have heard this joke for a long time. And, yes, without a clear understanding of what art therapy is and what it is used for, it sounds odd, or unique at best.
The truth is, it is a unique practice used with people of all ages to enhance well-being. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) defines it this way:
‘Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.'
What are the benefits of Art Therapy?
According to AATA: 'Research supports the use of art therapy within a professional relationship for the therapeutic benefits gained through artistic self-expression and reflection for individuals who experience illness, trauma, and mental health problems and those seeking personal growth.'
The benefits to art therapy are also listed in the definition itself. To me, art therapy is a marriage of creativity and counseling that is beneficial in reflection, demonstration, learning, and making connections in order to address the need, goal, issue at hand.
For more information about Art Therapy, click here.
Books, Blogs, Links...
This is an on-going development. Sometimes I'll make recommendations for good reads, interesting finds, and helpful tools. These will appear in the What's New section sometimes, and then may retire here for you to explore if you'd like.