What is Art Therapy and Who Can Benefit from It?

Finding the right outlet to express yourself, can help both your physical and mental well-being. Art either experienced or practiced can very often serve as a catharsis for our pent up emotions. This is why Art Therapy is also referred to as Expressive therapy and it helps us uncover some of the main pain points and deal with them. Here we are going to take a closer look at what is art therapy and examine who can benefit from it. 

About Art Therapy

You don’t have to be an artist, or good at arts in order to use art therapy. You will use paints, chalks or markers for presenting your emotions. You might create postcards that will never be posted or any other form of expressing your thoughts and emotions. Even if you are not excelling in the art department, you will be getting your emotions out there, which is progress. There are people who find it difficult to vocalize their struggles and/or inner turmoils, and art therapy is used in this fashion to prevent those wounds from festering, as an expression is an important step in the healing process.

Who Can Use Art Therapy

So far we have only mentioned how art therapy is used to help people who have trouble expressing how they feel, but let us get into specifics. Patients who suffer from schizophrenia are likely to find this therapy helpful, as it can calm their nerves. Also, any mental condition that is similar can benefit from the treatment. Autistic people can use it to calm down and to help them communicate better. 

Children and people with learning disabilities might find it hard to accurately express themselves and to verbalize how they feel, so they use art therapy. Individuals suffering from dementia can use it to focus on their creative side, which in terms helps them maintain a sense of identity. Finally, those who have chronic and/or terminal illness might find the therapy beneficial as it can help them cope.      

Types of Art Therapy

We already mentioned painting/drawing as one form of art therapy, and that one gives the users the most expressive freedom, however, there are other viable methods. Collaging can be pretty effective as well, as it requires you to put together images/pictures that inspire you, or convey how you feel. This can be compared to a vision board, which is something you make to inspire you, as it consists of dreams and goals. 

If you don’t feel confident with a paintbrush, you can rely on digital painting, since you can easily fix your errors. Moreover, you can master using photo editing software, and have a myriad of ways to show how you feel. If you have had a camera or phone camera, you can use them to take pictures of things that make you happy, that you find beautiful or that you are thankful for. These can come in handy if you are making a collage, all you need to do is print them.