What is Art Therapy?
THE AMERICAN ART THERAPY ASSOCIATION’S DEFINITION
“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 therapy is conducted in a safe and confidential environment where clients are invited to use different art medium 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.
Artistic skill is not required to gain benefit from art therapy services. Art Therapy involves exploring one’s challenges and strengths through the creative process, with a Master’s level art therapist present to guide the sessions and help process the artworks and feelings that arise. Self expression though art is like exploring and viewing oneself from a different angle. It allows us to see ourselves more objectively and can provide an outlet and a space to explore difficult emotions and experiences that we find hard to put into words.