The cornerstone of art therapy provides the individual with a voice that goes much beyond words. Art is a universal channel of communication and expression. It is something that people of all ages and circumstances can find comfort, challenge and discovery in. The idea that any form of art — be it painting, dance, drama or writing — has tremendous healing potential is not new thing. Art has always been utilised for emotional, physical and psychological well-being. ‘Art Therapy’, however, is still fairly new as a profession. ‘Expressive Arts’ therapy refers to a creative form of expressive therapy that utilises art to reach certain therapeutic goals that lead to a better sense of emotional, physical and psychological well-being. It is used with individuals of all ages. Art therapy is most effective in cases where talk therapy cannot be used and non-verbal therapy is less threatening and more approachable.
Art Therapy with Children
It is much easier to draw or paint something than talk about it. Art therapy can often make the problem appear smaller yet clearer and make solutions seem reachable. It is therefore regarded as a powerful media for bringing about transformation and change by psychotherapists working on psychological and emotional issues with young children. Art and play are also great tools of communication with children who have developmental disorders such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as they (art and play) are a natural medium for children to communicate.
Art Therapy in the hospital setting
When a medical diagnosis is made, it can change lives of the patient as well as the family. Illness can lead to a loss of emotional well-being and sense of control. Introducing the art and art making to patients allows them a safe space to express their emotions and also facilitates better pain relief, compliance building, symptom relief and healthy dealing with the emotional ramifications of the illness.
Art Therapy for Adults
Art is regarded as a powerful medium to bring about a change by psychotherapists working on improving the emotional and psychological wellbeing of individuals. This can be an effective modality to deal with feelings of anxiety, depression, stress and for personal growth. The process of art making and creating is considered to be deeply therapeutic in nature. It is a perfect fit for individuals who feel uncomfortable with talk therapy or feel that they are able to express themselves through non-verbal and creative modalities.
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