• Suzie Newman

What is Art Therapy, and is it right for you?

  Art therapy is the use of the creative process in a therapeutic context. Art therapy is facilitated by an art therapist, who is dually trained in talk-therapy and art therapy. It is an effective, non-traditional form of therapy for children and adults alike, that has existed since the 1940’s as a professional treatment option.  Art therapy is not one thing, but many, and can take different form depending on the participant and their goals. 

             In art therapy, participants are invited to create art as a way to communicate concepts, experiences, and emotions that are on their mind or in their body.  Sometimes art making can assist participants in finding answers, and other times it can raise more questions that may be helpful to explore. You might end up talking about the artwork you make, or you might allow the artwork to speak for itself.  Ultimately, an art therapist will work with you like any other therapist to tailor your therapy session to meet your needs and preferences in regard to what art materials you use, what you create, and how much or little you share. 

            You do not have to be an artist of have any artistic skill to benefit from art therapy.  Luckily, everyone has creativity! Sometimes in our day-to-day life it might feel like we don’t have any, but in fact, it is there- waiting for us to acknowledge it and welcome it into our lives. Art therapy offers a safe space to for individuals looking to invite their creativity into therapy as a source for insight, understanding and healing. 

Is art therapy right for you? You may want to consider it if you resonate with one or more of the following 11 statements that individuals often express when they are coming to art therapy: 

1.I’ve tried talk therapy and I feel like it was ineffective.

2.I’ve had a hard time identifying how I am feeling or what I am thinking.

3.I find talking directly about my thoughts and feelings very difficult and/or vulnerable.

4.I’ve experienced trauma(s) in my life that has been hard to talk about.

5.I want to learn to be present in the moment.

6.I’m looking for ways to cope with my anxiety.

7.I am looking for creative ways to vent my stress and relieve tension.

8.I hope to connect with myself on a deeper level.

9.I am looking for creative ways to move through my current situations.

10.I want a process that will guide me towards my innate resources, and supports me on the journey of living in alignment with what I really want.

11.I feel ready to engage in a holistic, therapeutic process. 

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