Art therapy has been proven in the medical and professional world to be a fantastic tool in the field of healing. It is used to treat adults and children who suffer from psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction and other serious mental, physical or relational issues. Through creative art expression, the benefits of healing are enormous. It is a form of therapy that allows an individual to communicate their inner pain to the outside world.
What is it?
Though art expression has been around for thousands of years, art therapy has been around since the middle of the 20th century, first practiced and established in English speaking and European countries. The roots are centered on the education and practice of art. It also has been involved and incorporated in developmental psychology.
This kind of therapy is defined by the American Art Therapy Association as “a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem."
How Does it Work?
Through creative and self expression a person can communicate the depth and intensity of their most inner feelings and pain through the creation of images, colors, and art pieces. The concept is based on relying on self-expression to quicken and encourage a person’s ability to problem solve promoting the capacity to heal.
The Affects to the Medical Field
Medical professionals have found that people who suffer from a serious trauma of some kind can find healing through the use of art. Art therapy has become a very important part of the therapeutic medical field and in the medical industry.
In today’s society, this form of therapy is being widely used in health settings such as hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation practices, and other wellness based practices. It is even now being offered and taught in the educational field among schools and colleges.
Art Therapy and Posttraumatic Stress
Unfortunately in today’s world, about 70% of the population in the U.S. have suffered some form of traumatic experience within their lifetime and about 20% of them will continue on to be diagnosed with a Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Trauma is an issue that creates a severe threat to our physical safety and survival as well as to our emotional and psychological safety. These traumatic events will often be relived and be displayed by nightmares or in our daily memories, causing impairment for a person to be able to function on a daily basis. This creates a serious concern for this individual’s safety and well-being.
Therapy through the use of art combines psychotherapeutic techniques together with the expressive and creative approach to improve a person’s mental health and overall well-being. Through such therapy, a person who is facing a PTSD condition can get the required help they need to be able to heal and move on in their individual life. An art therapist is skillfully and fully trained to help such an individual through such a healing process. They are equipped to work with an individual of any age and can help through listening and guidance techniques in a safe and secured facility, when needed.
Our lifetimes are full of traumatic experiences which can cause much pain and suffering to an individual. It is a wise decision to learn and handle such traumatic events in healthy ways. Therapy through the use of art is one healthy choice that an individual can choose to implement in their life to overcome these times of hardships. This kind of therapy can reduce your stress, increase your healing time, and improve your quality of life.