What Is Art Therapy?
Do you ever catch yourself doodling during a tense moment, perhaps while on a frustrating phone call or waiting for an appointment you weren’t looking forward to? You may not have realized it, but right there, you were using a form of art therapy. Yes, art therapy!
Art therapy is the use of art for a therapeutic purpose, such as relief from stress and anxiety. Art therapy will help you express painful or difficult feelings through drawing, painting, coloring, and sculpting. The good news here is that you don`t need to be an artist to do art therapy.
Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy is beneficial for people who have experienced trauma, suffered significant health challenges, or had some other conditions. Art therapy particularly helps people with depression, dementia, autism, eating disorders, substance use disorders, stress, and anxiety. It is not only adults who benefit from art therapy, as children also find it helpful. It can help them deal with childhood trauma, disabilities, learning difficulty, criminal conviction, chronic asthma, among other challenges.
Art therapy can also benefit children who are dealing with a number of health challenges.
9 Benefits of Art Therapy
Addresses Past Traumas
It is common to find people who suffer from PTSD using substances to distract themselves from painful thoughts like a past trauma. Art can help such people do better at expressing their feelings about the traumatic event, and as a result, do better in their everyday life.
Improves Self Management
People who suffer from addiction are prone to suffer a loss of control. Such people may prioritize getting high over their personal and career obligations. This results in a struggle to balance their substance abuse problem with their everyday activities. Art therapy helps such people learn how to focus better, become more disciplined, and generally lead a healthy life.
A number of people who abuse drugs and alcohol do so to reduce stress. Consistent abuse of drugs and alcohol will affect their minds and bodies eventually. Such people should practice art therapy instead, as it will help them convert their negative energies into positive habits, and in the process, not need to use drugs and alcohol.
Alleviates Depression Symptoms
Studies show that substance abuse and depression are connected. Art therapy can help improve the lives of people suffering from depression as it particularly combats chemical imbalances in the brain that cause depression.
Improves Communication Skills
There are people who find it difficult to express their thoughts and feelings, and as a result, turn to drugs or alcohol to be more confident, or find something like a motivation. Art therapy is a better way to be a better communicator, as it fosters self-expression.
Improves Problem-Solving Skills
Art therapy is essential for problem-solving. It is particularly helpful for young adults who have issues coping with rapid changes in their lives.
People with healthy social skills and self-esteem are more likely to lead happier lives. This is why art therapy is vital, as it helps build confidence and correct self-esteem issues. Wanna lead a happier life? Try art therapy!
Reduces Symptoms of Mental Health Issues
Art therapy is effective at improving the symptoms of mental health issues. It is especially effective at reducing pain, stress, and irritability levels while recovering from mental health challenges.
Acts as a Positive Distraction
Distraction from substance abuse works for a number of people, as it is vital to replace every negative habit with a healthy one. Art therapy will help you focus on the positive side of life, and take your mind off negative cravings and desires.
Other Effective Creative Therapies
Music therapy can support people with Alzheimer’s disease, mental health issues, injuries, and other conditions. Pregnant women, too, find music therapy helpful during labor.
Dance therapy uses nonverbal communication to improve an individual’s mental and physical condition.
Drama therapy helps participants express their feelings and develop interpersonal skills through deliberate improvisation and storytelling.
Poetry therapy helps people express themselves through writing. While some write poems, others write stories, or just fill their journals.
Debunking Therapy Myths
A number of people hold on to some wrong beliefs about therapy. Let`s discuss and debunk two of such myths, and further discuss some facts about therapy.
Therapy Is for Crazy People
Even though therapy may have its roots in treating severe mental disorders, things have changed over time. These days, you don’t need to have a mental illness before getting therapy. So therapy is neither for crazy nor weak people. Therapy can help anyone who desires to make meaning of life or needs some help in putting their life in order.
Therapy Is Expensive
It is not uncommon to find people say that therapy is for the rich. Interestingly, therapies don`t cost as much as many people think. For some people, insurance covers the cost of their mental health treatment, while a number of university clinics have payment plans for therapy.
Therapy Facts and Types that you Should Know
Therapy Is for Everyday Life
Everyday life entails attending to one’s job, health, family, social circles, among other things. Some people also have some peculiarities like being short-tempered, overly stressed, among other conditions. Therapy will help you manage the demands and improve the quality of your life. In the long run, it will help you function at a higher level and ultimately experience more joy.
Therapy Can Be Convenient
Some people erroneously avoid therapy because they think it is stressful and time-consuming. You can actually have therapy sessions on weekends and in the evenings. You can also have them in virtual meetings. So therapy is not all about the traditional doctor appointment; they can actually be flexible enough to accommodate various schedules, no matter how busy.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
This is a form of CBT that helps people become more flexible, thereby enables them to meet challenges. This approach is big on a commitment to actions that support one`s personal values, as well as acceptance of uncomfortable experiences. It helps patients cope with chronic pain, workplace stress, and terminal conditions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most studied and practiced forms of psychotherapy. CBT helps people to identify and change self-defeating behaviors and thoughts. It is also effective at treating anxiety and depression, along with overcoming substance abuse. People also find CBT helpful in dealing with everyday issues like getting enough sleep and adopting healthy habits.
Now that you Know…
Art therapy is highly effective, as you have seen. It is a therapeutic approach that supports healing by engaging an individual’s deepest feelings and thoughts through the arts. People of all ages can take art therapy, whether they are good at art or not. The most fascinating thing about art therapy is probably the fact that it can work for a wide variety of conditions, from trauma to eating disorders. People who have tried various forms of therapy and didn`t experience much impact are advised to try art therapy. In most cases, they find the long-desired healing in the course of their art therapy. What condition are you dealing with? Art therapy may just be what you need.