Published on 20th December, 2021
Art therapy is the use of artistic methods to treat psychological disorders and/or improve mental health. Art therapy is a technique rooted in the idea that creative expressions can foster healing and personal emotional well-being. It is an integrative mental health and human service that aims to enrich individuals, families and communities through artmaking, creative process, applied psychological theories and human experiences within a therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client. Art therapy comes in multiple forms such as dance, drama, expression, music, visual and writing therapy. The goal is to utilise the creative process to aid with self-expression. Additionally, new coping mechanisms may be gleaned through improved personal insight.
Art psychotherapy expands on this concept by incorporating psychoanalytic processes which seeks to access the unconscious mind. Jungian psychology influenced the development of art psychotherapy to access the unconscious, by stating that “by painting himself he gives shape to himself”. As such, art psychotherapy primarily focuses on externalising problems, reflecting on them, analysing them, which may enable a resolution to come forth. This may help to improve the mental wellbeing and quality of life of individuals by acknowledging and recognising feelings that have been buried. This may further help to manage existing psychological disorders.
According to a study published in the Wiley Handbook of Art therapy DE Gussak et al. (2015) the benefits of Art psychotherapy includes:
Some situations in which Art Psychotherapy can be utilised includes:
However, due to the popularisation of art psychotherapy, various misconceptions have emerged. Common misconceptions include:
What is the process in Art Psychotherapy?
It starts with a conversation. Every therapeutic relationship starts with an initial consultation. During this time, our art psychotherapists will get to know you and what has brought you into the therapy space. They will share more about the approach as well as answer any questions you may have about your work. The first consult also naturall unfolds into the second part of your work - the assessment. These first few art therapy sessions are usually used to explore more deeply what goals or issues you may have for your art therapy sessions. During ongoing art psychotherapy sessions, you and your therapist will journey together to explore these issues. Your therapist will also regularly review your goals, progress and need for therapy with you.
If you would like to know more about art psychotherapy and whether it is suitable for your needs, do feel free to book an appointment with us.
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