What is Art Therapy?

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“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ~ Aristotle

What is Art Therapy?  Art therapy is a form of expressive experiential therapy that relies on creative and sensory processes to facilitate self-awareness and healing. It is about the process of creating as much as it is about the final result of the artwork itself. The process of making art can be relaxing, meditative, and cathartic while the art product can be reflected upon to uncover or create meaning.  An image can act as a conversation piece and can also provide a means of containing emotions that are overwhelming, misunderstood, painful, or confusing.  Through guided or spontaneous art-making sessions, the art therapist and client naturally build a relationship and clients are able to express themselves and explore their inner world in a safe and supportive environment.

Why Art Therapy?  Art making is therapeutic and can be a powerful means of communication when we struggle with finding the vocabulary to express our unique life experiences.  Sometimes using words to explain our experience can be limiting because our felt sense can be indescribable.  Visual images formed through the use of art materials have a magical way of conveying aspects of ourselves that might be outside of our conscious awareness.  As a result, art-making fosters self-awareness and enhances personal growth.  It helps us deal effectively and safely with difficult personal issues and aids us in managing illness or processing major life events that can cause stress, anxiety, pain, conflict, isolation, depression, and grief.  Lastly, artmaking can also be rewarding and fun!  Creative play is unfortunately given less priority in this competitive world that privileges productivity but play and using our imagination are very important for our brains and our hearts!

Who is Art Therapy For?  You do not need to have any prior experience or artistic skills to participate in art therapy.  Art therapy is a useful and powerful method of self-understanding and expression for individuals of all ages.  It has been shown to be effective for people seeking healing and recovery from chronic illness, mental health issues, addictions, abuse, trauma, grief, and loss.

Art Therapy has proven extremely effective with children.  It helps children with self-regulation, communication of repressed feelings, imagination and abstract thinking, sensory regulation and integration, relaxation, visual-spatial skills, development and growth, and emotional expression of anger, sadness, joy, etc.

Feel free to contact me at art.therapy.nadina@gmail.com and explore the art therapy option!