What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the act of art making. Its emphasis is on the art-making process as being therapeutic in and of itself. It works by helping clients to connect with and understand their inner world, and towards the development of a client’s integrated sense of self, with increased self awareness and acceptance.
The creative process is employed to help clients increase insight and judgement, cope better with stress, work through traumatic experiences, increase cognitive abilities, have better relationships with family and friends, and to just be able to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of the creative experience. Sometimes words don’t say it all, by using art, clients can develop a visual language that enables them to gain a different perspective of their situation and facilitates their inner feelings to be expressed in a new way.
Art therapists are professionals trained in both art and therapy. They are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories and clinical practice as well as spiritual, artistic and multicultural traditions. Art therapists use art in treatment, assessment and research, providing services individually or as part of a clinical team. They work in hospitals, rehabilitation centres, cancer and palliative care centres, primary health care centres, schools and other educational settings.