What is Art Therapy and How it Works
Countless people struggle with emotional pain, deep-rooted in difficult life experiences. While many suffer in silence, others turn to anti-depressants or traditional cognitive therapy. Still others find significant benefits through art therapy, which taps the creative process to externalize emotions and promote healing.
Q: What is art therapy?
A: A specialized area of mental health, Art Therapy utilizes artistic materials and the creative process to boost self-esteem, reduce anxiety, explore emotions and resolve psychological conflict.
Q: How does it work?
A: Throughout millennia, art has been used to express powerful aspects of human experience across numerous cultures. Accessing this often-ignored faculty can bring freedom of expression to complicated life issues. Participants are able to externalize feelings and thoughts using physical matter and reflect on them without the need for words.
Q: What are the benefits?
A: Art-creation involves a series of mental and physical processes that have been shown to offer therapeutic benefits. The creative process can offer emotional and physical relief, as the participant expresses difficult or painful experiences in tactile materials. Even when it represents negative experiences, the process can be deeply satisfying, relaxing and positive. By tapping the imaginative faculty, art making can be a powerful tool for self-expression and self-support. It can also help identify underlying causes of mental illness, while aiding in recovery.
Q: Can you participate without experience or training?
A: Yes. Absolutely no training or experience is required to participate in - and benefit from - an art therapy program. Highly trained in psychology and the visual arts, the typical art therapist will guide you along the process of using unfamiliar materials in constructive ways. All you need is a willingness to explore and experiment.
Q: What level of training should a qualified therapist have?
A: Art therapy is a highly specialized profession requiring a master’s degree from a program with specific therapy components. Some associations also offer certification as a supplement to the therapist's education, instead of a degree. Numerous art therapists hold ATRs, which indicate that they are registered with the national art therapy credentials board.
Q: How can I find an Art Therapist?
A: Art therapists are registered with each state's Health Professions Council. Your family physician should have access to the BAAT Register of qualified art therapists. These will all be insured, qualified and supervised according to BAAT’s strict code of professional practice.
If you are looking to integrate the language of art into your therapeutic experience one of our trained art therapists will help. Contact us today!