Art therapy is a mental health profession, which combines the use of psychological theories and intervention methods with the use of the creative art process for assessment, treatment, education, and self-growth purposes.

No prior experience, special inspiration, or talent is needed.

Simply allowing us to engage with the wide range of possibilities and choices the art materials, process, and product offer can be informative as well as healing.

Advantages of Art Therapy:

  • Imagery is the language of the psyche. The art process allows unconscious material to become conscious.
  • The materials, process, and product offer a range of choices that reflect our internal processes and inform us about ourselves.
  • The art process can result in sublimation.
  • The art product is able to hold and communicate our truths without judgment.
  • The art product and the metaphor it holds offer distance and safety to address otherwise unwanted or unbearable issues and realities.
  • Art offers solutions to dilemmas from a nonverbal source of inner wisdom.
  • Art involves a decision making process that teaches one to tolerate ambiguity and realize that persistence yields results.
  • Art is evidence of an assertive act (Langarten); it requires choice making.
  • Art fosters a sense of mastery, as conflicts are re-experiences, formed, concretized and viewed.
  • Art defines experiences and redefines possibilities. It is a way to build and repair.

Resources:

Videos (online):

Recommended Readings:

  • Art as a Way of Knowing, Pat Allen
  • Art as Medicine, Creating a Therapy of the Imagination, Shaun McNiff
  • Contemporary Art Therapy with Children, Shirley Riley
  • Gestalt Art Therapy, Janie Rhyne
  • Spirituality and Art Therapy, Ed. By Mimi Farrelly-Hansen
  • The Artist in Each of Us, Florence Cane
  • Understanding Children’s Drawings, Cathy Malchiodi
 

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