Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses art and other artistic mediums to help you explore and express thoughts and emotions without necessarily using words. Art therapy can be useful If you find it difficult to say what you are feeling, particularly if you are experiencing confusing or distressing emotions. In fact, doing something with your hands, i.e. holding a pen or paintbrush can help you to feel more grounded and connected to the world around you.
As well as helping those who may be struggling with their mental health, art therapy can be beneficial to a wide range of people, including young children, the elderly and those in the justice system. Experience or skill in any artistic mediums is not required, as your work will not be criticised – it is more about the emotions expressed and felt throughout the process.
Art therapy works as a 3-way relationship between you, your therapist, and the art itself. The art can be made with many different mediums including paint, crayons, chalk, sculpting, photography, drawing, found objects, collaging, and so on. It is about visually expressing externally what is happening within you.
Art therapy can take place in one-on-one sessions or in groups, depending on what your need is. It is incredibly versatile, making it accessible to a wide range of people, however, it is particularly beneficial to those who have found it difficult to express themselves through other forms of talking therapy.
- Art therapists work with clients at any age, with a wide range of abilities, difficulties, diagnoses, and goals. Those who benefit particularly from art therapy include:
- Those with mental health problems such as addiction, schizophrenia, and other mental health conditions
- Those experiencing high stress or low self-esteem
- Those with learning difficulties
- Those on the autistic spectrum
- Those in the criminal justice system
- Those with dementia
- Those with a chronic or terminal illness
- And anyone else who finds it difficult to express their feelings or feels distanced from their emotions