Art therapy: psychological therapy through art

You may be surprised to learn that art is a very effective therapeutic tool for the treatment of pathologies related to mental health and well-being. It is a new discipline that aims to promote certain healthy habits, both psychologically and socially, through artistic expression. But, How does art therapy work?

This type of therapy is used as a means of expression and can help patients communicate, reduce stress, and overcome emotional issues.

Art therapy: what is it?

Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy which uses the creative process of art to improve the physical and psychological well-being of the patient.

Expressing emotions through art can help with past problems and can help improve self-knowledge, self-esteem, emotional control, reduce stress and anxiety, improve state of consciousness, attention or creativity.

In order for someone to benefit from the positive aspects of art therapy, it is not necessary to be a talented artist, as the goal of this type of therapy is to improve the well-being and quality of life.

Who benefits?

Art therapy works with patients with mental disorders, for the rehabilitation of prisoners, for the education of young people, to improve the well-being of healthy people, etc.

It is used with people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder resulting from war, sexual abuse or natural disasters; with people suffering from physical illnesses such as cancer; with people suffering from autism, dementia or Alzheimer’s, depression and other psychological disorders.

With art therapy, patients resolve psychological conflicts, improve their social and communication skills, and control problematic behaviors while enjoying enjoyable and minimally invasive therapy.

Origin of this type of therapy

While humans have used art to express themselves and communicate for centuries, Art therapy did not begin to formalize until the 1920s.

At this time, medical professionals realized that patients with mental disorders used to express themselves through painting or other art forms, which led to exploring the uses of art as a therapeutic strategy.

How does an art therapist work?

Art therapists with a postgraduate degree in art therapy. This profession is part of the care professions. In this way, art therapy combines two areas, psychology and Art. Psychology provides insight into the human mind and behavior, its processes and development.

Knowledge of art is important because the art therapist uses different means and techniques to work with his patients (painting, drawing, drama, photography, sculpture, etc.).

The benefits of art therapy

After reviewing the most important aspects of art therapy, below we will briefly summarize the benefits that therapy brings with art:

  • It allows the person to express his feelings, thoughts and emotions, so that it acts as a means of release.
  • It is an effective way to help those people who have difficulty expressing themselves and communicating.
  • It promotes emotional self-knowledge and behavior regulation.
  • It is useful in areas such as rehabilitation, education, and mental health.
  • This helps to improve the quality of life.
  • It is very effective with people who suffer from sensory, physical, motor or social adaptation problems.
  • Use with people with Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism is helpful.
  • It works with children and adolescents who have learning disabilities.
  • It can be used for the treatment of phobias.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • It helps improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • It is very effective in eating disorders and body image.
  • It is used effectively to treat addictions.
  • It boosts self-esteem and helps patients with depression.
  • It has been shown to be effective in helping patients with terminal illnesses.

In general, art therapy makes sense a very stimulating but also very creative task. At the same time, it offers a way to express feelings and views that would otherwise be reserved for the person, sometimes generating frustration.

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