Art therapy is the fundamental cure for mental therapy.
The use of artistic methods to treat psychological disorders and enhance art Therapy for mental health is known as art therapy.
Art therapy is a technique rooted in the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being.
Art, either creating it or viewing others’ art, is used to help people explore emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and work on social skills.
The American Art Therapy Association characterizes art therapy as an approach to mental health that utilizes the process of creating art to improve mental, physical, and emotional wellness.
Art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families,
and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.
Techniques used in art therapy can include drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting, or collage. As clients create art,
they may analyze what they have made and how it makes them feel. Through exploring their art,
people can look for themes and conflicts that may be affecting their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
People do not need to have artistic ability or special talent to participate in art therapy, and people of all ages including children, teens, and adults can benefit from it.
Some research suggests that just the presence of art can play a part in boosting mental health.
A 2017 study found that art displayed in hospital settings contributed to an environment where patients felt safe.
It also played a role in improving socialization and maintaining an identity outside of the hospital.
History of Art Therapy
People have been relying on the arts to communicate, express themselves, and heal for thousands of years.
But art therapy didn’t start to become a formal program until the 1940s.
Doctors noted that individuals suffering from mental illness often expressed themselves in drawings and other artworks, which led many to explore the use of art as a healing strategy.
Since then, art has become an important part of the therapeutic field and is used in some assessment and treatment techniques.
Indications of Art Therapy
Art therapy can be used to treat a wide range of mental disorders and psychological distress. In many cases,
It might be used in conjunction with other psychotherapy techniques such as group therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Some situations in which art therapy might be utilized include:
- Adults experiencing severe stress
- Children suffering from behavioral or social problems at school or at home
- Children or adults who have experienced a traumatic event
- Children with learning disabilities
- Individuals suffering from a brain injury
- People experiencing mental health problems
- Some conditions that art therapy may be used to treat include:
- Aging-related issues
- Eating disorders
- Emotional difficulties
- Family or relationship problems
- Medical conditions
- Psychological symptoms associated with other medical issues
- Psychosocial issues
- Substance use
Explanations of some diseases covered by Art Therapy
Art-making is a common activity used by many people to cope with illness. Art and the creative process can alleviate many illnesses (cancer, heart disease, influenza, etc.).
This form of therapy helps benefit those who suffer from mental illnesses as well (chronic depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, etc.).
It is difficult to measure the efficacy of art therapy as it treats various mental illnesses to different degrees; although, people can escape the emotional effects of various illnesses through art-making and many creative methods. Sometimes people cannot express the way they feel, as it can be difficult to put into words, and art can help people express their experiences.
“During art therapy, people can explore past, present and future experiences using art as a form of coping”.
Art can be a refuge for the intense emotions associated with illness; there are no limits to the imagination in finding creative ways to express emotions.
Many studies have been conducted on the benefits of art therapy on cancer patients. Art therapy has been found to be useful to support patients during the stress of such things as chemotherapy treatment.
Art therapists have conducted studies to understand why some cancer patients turned to art-making as a coping mechanism and a tool to creating a positive identity outside of being a cancer patient.
Women in the study participated in different art programs ranging from pottery and card making to drawing and painting.
The programs helped them regain an identity outside of having cancer, lessened the emotional pain of their ongoing fight with cancer, and also giving them hope for the future.
In a study involving women facing cancer-related difficulties such as fear, pain, altered social relationships, etc., it was found that
Engaging in different types of visual art (textiles, card making, collage, pottery, watercolor, acrylics) helped these women in major ways.
First, it helped them focus on positive life experiences, relieving their ongoing preoccupation with cancer. Second,
it enhanced their self-worth and identity by providing them with opportunities to demonstrate continuity, challenge, and achievement.
Third, it enabled them to maintain a social identity that resisted being defined by cancer. Finally, it allowed them to express their feelings in a symbolic manner, especially during chemotherapy.
While art therapy helps with behavioral issues, it does not appear to affect worsening mental abilities. Tentative evidence supports benefits with respect to the quality of life.
Art therapy had no clear results on affecting memory or emotional well-being scales.
However, Alzheimer’s association states art and music can enrich people’s lives and allow for self-expression.