Growing up, many of us remember coloring with crayons, playing with Play-Doh, or building with brightly colored blocks. We crafted worlds, constructed make-believe scenarios and proudly displayed our creations on fridges, walls, and in frames.
Today, while some of us continue to create art, many of us do not. Life just seems to get in the way. And while art and creating may not be a staple in our lives, what if we told you it could be a catalyst to healing and growing? What if art could again give you that rush of joy? That ability to let go, to embrace emotions, raise self-awareness and cope with what life throws at you? What if we told you that a healing power lies in art therapy?
What is Art Therapy?
Don’t worry, art therapy isn’t just coloring in coloring books (although we enjoy coloring too!)
Art therapy is the use of artistic, creative methods to enrich the lives of individuals, families and communities and treat psychological distress and improve mental health. Art therapy is conducted by a Master’s level art therapist, whose goal is to help individuals and groups gain a deeper understanding of difficult situations and our behaviors and reactions surrounding these situations.
At Affinity, our art therapists will help guide you, either through creating your own art or viewing others’ art.
Through techniques like drawing, painting, collage, and sculpting, you will be encouraged to reflect on what you create, how it was made, and the meaning behind it.
Together you will search for common themes that may be influencing your thoughts and actions. Through exploration like this, an art therapist can help you to better understand your emotions and provide tools to help you cope with future stress.
Will Art Therapy Work for Me or My Child?
Art therapy has been proven to be beneficial for all ages and for a wide array of mental health concerns. Used as an alternative therapy or in conjunction with other psychotherapies, art therapy can be used to help treat such issues as:
- Behavioral Problems
- Learning Disabilities
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Relationship Issues
- Eating Disorders
- Chronic Pain
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and if you have any questions about art therapy and what it may help treat, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Art therapy has helped everyone from war veterans to children with special needs get a better grasp of the world around them. Art therapy has been shown to help reduce pain and stress in cancer patients, reduce anxiety in children, and depression and PTSD in those who have suffered great traumas.
The benefits of expressive arts therapy seem to be boundless.
At its core, art therapy is about making meaning through making art.
Here at Affinity, we take pride in finding out how art therapy can help even more people thrive!
Art Therapy for Children
Expressive arts therapy for children may look like play, but it’s actually a highly beneficial therapy approach. Children do not have the refined verbal skills that adults do. Through art-making, children are actually able to communicate more and better than they can communicate with words alone. Art therapy is especially beneficial for children who may be non-verbal or sensory-based, or who may have suffered from trauma. An art therapist will encourage children to visually express and record their experiences, emotions, and perceptions.
Common art therapy activities for children include:
- Collage making
- Tactile activities
- Fort building
Art Therapy for Adults
Art therapy for adults, may not look too different from art therapy for children, but is just as beneficial. The goal is to “delve deep,” focusing inward and expressing yourself with creative materials. Art therapy for adults involves a lot of talk therapy, or psychotherapy, as well. However, unlike expressing yourself with only words, the physical form of art therapy also allows you to “do something” in the moment with your thoughts and feelings – rip them up, turn them over, bury them, or change the image to what you want to have happen. An art therapist will help you reflect on your art, ask questions, learn about yourself, and develop strategies to work through similar issues that may arise in the future.
Common art therapy activities for adults include:
- Creative journaling
- Word collages
Do I Have to Be Good at Art for Art Therapy?
Not at all! Remember, art therapy is designed to help you explore your feelings, perceptions and reactions to the world around you, not your artistic techniques. When creating art, our art therapists want you to create art that is an expression of you and your feelings, not necessarily an expression of the outside world. Art therapy is for you and you alone. No artistic flare needed.
Art therapy is about the process, not the final product.
How Do I Get Started With Art Therapy?
We can’t wait to help you in your journey towards empowerment and change. You are more than welcome to read more about our art therapist here and get to know the rest of the team here. To schedule an art therapy session, you can either schedule online or contact us by clicking here. We’ll walk you through the next steps from there.
You’ve made the first step towards healing. We can’t wait to meet you!