The popularity of Art Therapy has blossomed over recent years mainly due to studies revealing its effectiveness as a treatment method for depression, trauma, dementia and many other conditions. Recently, the World Health Organization’s Regional Office of Europe explored this colorful subject and concluded that it is a powerfully therapeutic form of medicine.
Art therapy has been around for fifty years but due to these art therapy related studies by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is now taken more seriously as a method to positively influence mental and physical health.
A few years ago, whilst doing my Holistic Counselling Diploma, I embarked on a 30-day project to help me release the stress and anxiety I was feeling towards my old corporate job in IT Recruitment. It literally changed my life.
Since then, I’ve been using art therapy techniques in my workshops and courses for many since 2015 and have been blown away by the results my clients have been getting. Please take a look at some of the incredible images they have created during my 12-week signature program called ‘Your TRUE Colours’.
So let’s take a look at my 7 top reasons why Art Therapy rocks…
1. POSITIVE CREATIVE, EXPRESSION
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that harnesses the power of art as a positive channel for communication. Because it is a form of expressive therapy it is highly beneficial for anyone who finds it difficult communicating their feelings with words. It utilizes the creative process of making art to improve mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical health.
2. IT BENEFITS EVERYONE
Many people feel calmer after engaging in art therapy as it is a way to evoke mindfulness. It can relieve many symptoms such as post-traumatic stress, asthma, childhood abuse, Alzheimer’s and depression. Studies show that it helps people to connect sensory memories with mental memories, opening pathways between feelings and thoughts, helping to resolve deep-seated stress reactions.
3. THE PROCESS NOT THE PRODUCT
During an art therapy session, you are involved in a process of linking thought, emotion, movement and sometimes even sound. It is a sensory experience so the best results are attained when activating your intuitive responses. If you are not an artist it really does not matter because it is about the process, not the end result.
During some sessions, a variety of different mediums will be available to you such as watercolors, acrylics, crayons, pencils, felt-tips or even clay. These will become the tools that represent how you are feeling. At other times, you may only have one option or that you create a piece based on a particular subject.
4. RELEASES DIFFICULT EMOTIONS
Many of my clients are finally able to identify blocked emotions such as grief, anger, grief, shame, confusion or fear during a session. A good Art Therapist will help people to release those emotions through a sequence of both conscious and subconscious techniques, such as discussion, hypnosis or guided meditation.
5. ENHANCES SELF-ESTEEM
Studies reveal that people who have greater confidence and social skills are more likely to develop healthy habits. Art therapy helps build the self-awareness and self-esteem necessary to navigate various social situations and life challenges.
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6. ACTIVATES PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITY
Another positive influence this amazing modality has is to encourage people to look for smart solutions to their problems rather than rely on drugs or alcohol. If you are struggling to connect to your social groups or struggle with the process of change then it will provide a much-needed rest bite and prevent getting caught up in the drama of others.
7. DISCOVER DORMANT SKILLS
I have witnessed lots of people rekindle a love of creating artwork during my courses. Some realize that they have a gift with a particular media, such as clay, pastels or watercolors. I re-ignited my skills with acrylics after doing my Holistic Counselling Diploma and hosted a couple of exhibitions with some of these paintings. So you never know where it will take you until you try.
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Have you tried Art Therapy? Leave a comment below to let me know how you got on…