Getting in Touch with Art and Ourselves

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Photo: CC0, Unsplash, 2016

A very interesting and informative article written in the Daily Californian, a student-run newspaper out of University of Berkeley, about art therapy explaining what this form of therapy looks like in a professional setting. To anyone looking for an answer as to how art therapy is different from other forms, this is a great read!

The article includes interviews American Art Therapy Association board member Paige Asawa and Art Therapy Clinic Director, Helen B. Landgarten. The two discuss how any sort of art, even doodling or scribbling helps us to get in touch with ourselves.”Art, then, is an act of self-exploration and discovery in a manner which is natural and comfortable for the individual.” Many of us are out of touch with our emotions and feelings and art is a pathway to rekindle that connection and go deeper.

“(Art therapy) reaches those nonverbal places where trauma is stored in the psyche and in the body. (It) can really release those traumatic events so that they are not detrimental to the person’s development and growth, and I think that that’s specifically one of many areas in which art therapy far surpasses other types of therapy”

-Paige Asawa, American Art Therapy Association

Check out the article here!

A Deeper Look into Art Therapy

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Photo: CC0, Pixabay User SailDancer, 2011

What is Art Therapy and Who is it for?

A common myth is that Art Therapy is set aside for kids or artists. Although these certainly are two categories of clients, it is open to everyone! Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy, which means it’s part of a larger field of creative and alternative therapies. In these sorts of therapies, the  creative process is utilized to help clients connect with themselves in order to solve issues they may be having such as high stress or low self-esteem. Art therapy can serve people in different ways and for various reasons, but most commonly to improve mental, emotional, and even physical well-being.

Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. American Art Therapy Association

What does an art therapy session look like? 

Due to our tendency to want everything we make or do to be perfect, we often dismiss our talents and write ourselves off as not being creative. However, in art therapy, the creative process and inner experience is more important than the final result, making it a welcoming practice to everyone. In a session, a client will spend more time on how he or she feels during the process of lets say painting something, rather than critiquing the final product.

Therapy sessions can be private or in groups, usually with one therapist leading the activities. By using art as a medium, it may be easier for clients to express themselves rather than  privately talking one-on-one with a therapist. There are many techniques and variations on how a session is conducted, such as active imagination by Carl Jung, gestalt methods and the “third-hand approach.” There isn’t one way to conduct art therapy as it is adaptable to clients needs and what the therapist sees as a best fit.