"The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them..." Bernard M. Baruch

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Art Therapy

The American Art Therapy Association defines Art Therapy in this way:

"Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.

Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change."

ART MAKING AS A TOOL FOR INSIGHT

Art-making focuses on the process of making the art, not the outcome of the art product. Many clients are concerned that they are not "artists". It is not at all necessary. Art is an amazing expression of unconscious thought that allows the human brain to bypass the editorial barrier that spoken language presents. The art-making experience allows a client to breakthrough to new insights and promote new perspectives in and out of the therapeutic setting.  

ART MAKING TO HELP WITH EMOTIONAL REGULATION

The process of engaging in art-making and being in the "zone" allows for emotional regulation. It can reduce anxiety, depression, distress and bring greater resolution to emotional conflicts.  Art-making can help clients cultivate greater resilience, creating within the art a gained sense of power and control over their lives.

ART MAKING TO HELP WITH SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-IDENTITY

Engaging in art is engaging in making choices - of color and line,  of what is, and what is not on the page. This can help clients create identities with new boundaries of who and what they want in their lives. Art-making can also bring a fresh, creative dimension to a client's life,  and bring greater freedom for self-expression.

"IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT CREATIVITY

IT IS ABOUT THE PERSON YOU ARE

BECOMING

WHILE YOU ARE CREATING"

                                                         -Charlie Peacock

WHAT IS AN ART THERAPY SESSION?

Art therapy can be used as a tool in any psychotherapy session, which typically lasts for 50 minutes. Art therapy groups typically last an hour and a half.  Within those timeframes it is possible to spend from a few minutes to whatever time is available to do actual art-making and a follow-up discussion of the art between therapist and client and/or group members. There are no particular rules - it is a fluid process that can facilitate discussion and promote insight.

WHAT MEDIUMS ARE USED?

In individual sessions, one can has certain time restrictions but my clients are many times surprised by how much they can produce in a single session. The art therapist makes available pencils, oil pastels, acrylic paints, paper and canvas, collage materials and sculptural material, such as clay.  This is not an exhaustive list, as each art therapist works differently, but these materials often show up in a given session.