What is art therapy?
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. Art therapy practice requires knowledge of visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms) and the creative process, as well as of human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques. To be an art therapist in New York state, you must be licensed.
Where is it practiced?
Today art therapy is widely practiced in a variety of settings including:
- psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities
- wellness centers
- forensic institutions
- crisis centers
- senior communities
- private practice
- clinical and community settings
Who benefits from art therapy?
Art therapy benefits diverse client populations in individual, couples, family, and group therapy formats. Art therapy is particularly helpful with individuals who struggle with verbalizing their feelings, including:
- children and adolescents
- people experiencing developmental, medical, educational, and social or psychological impairment
- those who have survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural disaster
- persons with adverse physical health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, and other health disability
- persons with autism, dementia, depression, and other disorders
Art therapy also helps people resolve conflicts, improve interpersonal skills, manage problematic behaviors, reduce negative stress, and achieve personal insight.
*The above was taken from the American Art Therapy Association’s website. Please click here for further explanation.