What are the benefits of art therapy?
Art therapy is a positive practice that’s available to everyone; it can help both adults and children in so many ways. It has been a popular self-healing practice for years, but it only became a formal course in the 1940s and people are still just learning the meaning of it now.
Of course, it’s possible that you may not have heard of this practice before now. Many people don’t know what’s involved in art therapy, despite the vast amount of positive benefits it can bring to your everyday life. That’s why we want to delve into this topic for you - because art and mental health go hand in hand, and this is something all of us should know about and remember.
You’ll most likely be wondering what art therapy is and how it improves your wellbeing. We’re here to help answer all of these questions and discuss the true benefits of art therapy. Hopefully after you’ve read through this informative article, you’ll try it out for yourself…
What is art therapy?
If you’re asking yourself “what is art therapy”, it’s likely that you’ve just discovered this term and want to learn more about what it means, which is great. Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy, which uses artistic methods and self-expression to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
The aim is to help soothe the mind by occupying it with a safe and creative practice that fosters mental wellbeing. You might not have considered art and wellbeing as linked before now, but being creative is such an enlightening process and one that can help you tackle any unwanted emotions positively.
The different techniques used in art therapy are wonderfully varied. These include everything from drawing, collaging, doodling, sculpting and finger painting, to taking photographs and working with clay. Each of these artistic methods can help you truly explore your emotions on a deeper level.
How does art therapy work?
Art therapy is a great stress-busting technique, but it also helps to improve your social skills, cope with (and address) anxiety, and boost self-esteem. Although you now have a greater understanding of what it is, you may well be wondering how it works.
An art therapist will use different materials such as paint or clay to stimulate sensory responses from you. The aim of this is to produce artistic imagery that directly relates to your emotions. This allows you to organise overwhelming feelings you experience, or have experienced, by effectively crafting a narrative and connecting with your mindset.
There truly are so many benefits of art therapy because through making your own art, you’ll recognise your inner strength and growth. Art therapy can even help people come to terms with a current problem or physical illness.
Allowing yourself to feel certain emotions that are hard to pin down, as well as being able to confront them and explain them takes a weight off your mind. For many people, expressing how they feel in this way comes easier than talking about it, and this is why art therapy for mental health is so valuable.
How art therapy helps
Art therapy is all about acknowledging the problems you are facing and using the freedom involved in creating a piece of art to positively impact your mindset. It’s used as a way to help alleviate a number of mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, as well as psychological distress.
Art therapy is often used if someone is receiving cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) because it is rooted in self-awareness. Additionally, art therapy aims to improve your mental health over time, and not just for a short period.
Even when your brain just feels a little foggy, expressing yourself really helps clear the mind. That’s why art therapy is such an excellent healing strategy; creating artwork helps free your thoughts from worries about the future and the past, by requiring that you concentrate on what you are producing in the current moment.
It’s important to remember that art therapy doesn’t require you to create a masterpiece or become a budding artist; this form of therapy does not discriminate when it comes to artistic talents. Instead, it welcomes people of all abilities to engage creatively with their thoughts in a positive way.
Now you know the basics of art therapy and how it can help, you may want to try it out for yourself. You can find the service that is most suited to you by visiting the British Association of Art Therapists, or browse the different art therapists available to you online.
Don’t forget to read our other useful articles on how to truly appreciate a piece of art, as well as our lifestyle-inspired pieces over on our blog. Art and reading are both great self-healing practices, so using both to your advantage will certainly help in soothing a negative mindset.
If you’re looking to add some prints to your interior for an additional mental health boost, explore our marvellous artwork here.