Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, coloring, or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art. Art therapy helps improve self-esteem, relieve stress and and depression, and cope with a stroke.
No artistic talent is necessary for art therapy to succeed, because the therapeutic process is not about the artistic value of the work, but rather about improving an individual’s physical and emotional health.
Art therapy can take many forms and accomplish many beneficial things. For example,
- the physical act of pounding and throwing clay can relieve stress
- painting or drawing can be soothing and calming
- art can be used to physically communicate what cannot be said verbally
- through the act of creating, people may open a window into their emotions, thoughts, and problems, thereby regaining control of their lives and increasing self-esteem
Art therapy can involve sewing or knitting, creating murals, crafting, designing cards or postcards, making puppets, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, collage, doodling, and more.
The use of art as therapy is grounded in the healing possibilities of the human creative process and through the act of self-expression. Creating an image uses our physical and cognitive sides — both the left and right sides of the brain. It is also believed that art therapy stimulates neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to repair or rewire itself to restore functions damaged by a stroke.