Many people turn to art as a way to relax and find inspiration. Whether it is to create art or even to just observe it, art can be a great source of joy. However, the benefits of art go way beyond just that. Art can help people cope with mental health problems and fosters healing and mental wellbeing in what is known as art therapy.
Art therapy is an expressive medium that helps people communicate, become more self-aware, work on their self-esteem as well as cope with stress and mental health conditions. What makes art therapy more beautiful is the fact that it is for everyone! You do not need to have an artistic talent to be able to try art therapy. People of all ages can attend art therapy, including children, teens and adults.
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy engages the mind, body and soul in a nonverbal way. Since art therapy allows people to express themselves through creative works, people who are not in touch with their feelings and emotions can greatly benefit from it. Some of the techniques used in art therapy include, drawing, painting, sculpting, and coloring. After creating the art work, people can then go on and explore it to try to understand their emotions, thoughts, and the reasoning behind them. The role of art therapists is to help you reach a deep understanding of the experiences behind your artwork.
“Visual and symbolic expression gives voice to experience and empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation.” – American Art Therapy Association
Art therapy does not only offer people a deeper understanding of themselves but also helps alleviate stress and emotional pain. It acts as a medium to help people cope with many illnesses, both mental and physical. According to a conducted study, hospitals began offering art programs and found that participants showed better vitals and less sleeping problems.
Furthermore, the impact of art on cancer patients was also studied. Women who participated in the art programs started having hope about the future, began identifying themselves outside of having cancer, and the program helped them better cope with their emotional pain.
Art therapy can also help those suffering from depression and anxiety, says Harvard Health Publishing. In general, using art has helped patients cope with their pain and alleviate emotional distress.
Not to mention its ability to help victims of abuse, especially children who find it to be a safe medium to tell their stories. It has also proven to work wonders with displaced communities such as refugees during psychosocial help programs; where it ends up being a window of hope and a path to resilience.