Art Therapy Benefits:
Art is all around us. It can be as grand as a painting in the Louvre or as subtle as a sparkling drop of dew on a blade of grass. Art encompasses so much emotion and feeling, and we look at a piece of art every once in a while and feel that special connection that we haven’t felt with anything else.
“I prefer to think of art therapy as a visual voice,” says Cheryl-Ann Webster, RCAT of the Proulx Foundation. “At times, that voice is a mere whisper, at others a scream. Art therapy provides that inner voice a safe place to speak and be heard.”
Research has shown that art therapy can be very beneficial for helping with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and daily stress. Art therapy is a popular alternative to conventional talk therapy.
What is Art Therapy?
Art therapy combines creative therapeutic processes and psychotherapy to enhance self-exploration, healing, and understanding. Through using various art-making materials, clients may express thoughts and feelings that might otherwise be difficult to express through language alone.
You don’t have to be an artist to benefit from art therapy. You must simply be willing to make marks in the presence of a qualified art therapist.
Benefits of Art Therapy
Do you have a pen nearby? A piece of paper? Try drawing a circle. Keep the loops going. Make the loops slower, faster, then slower again. Now try the same thing with your finger and a different surface.
How did the pen feel in your hand? How did it feel to go slower, then faster? How did you feel at the end?
You can also do art therapy sessions online or in-person. If you attend art therapy in person, your art therapist will have an assortment of materials that you can choose from. If you’re doing sessions online, you can use any pencils, crayons, paper you have nearby. Art therapists are trained to work with any materials you might have on hand, so if you feel like using spices from your kitchen pantry or the pinecones you picked up on your walk home, bring them to your session and see how your journey grows with these art-making tools.
Like other forms of therapy, art therapy can help manage overwhelming feelings and stress. We all need a helping hand when life gets tough, and the experience of creating art, making movement, and feeling materials beneath your fingers can be a big stress-reliever. The neuroscience behind art therapy shows that sensory explorations in art therapy are directly linked to positive changes and rewiring in the brain. The act of creation is a powerful tool that can lead to increased self-esteem, self-awareness, and calm.
How do I find an Art Therapist?
Many art therapists have websites, and a simple internet search might help you connect to an art therapist in your area. If you are in Canada, you can find an art therapist through the Canadian Art Therapy Assocation’s directory. If you are looking for accessible, confidential, and professionally-regulated art therapy, you can also try our Virtual Art Therapy Clinic.
Interested in becoming an art therapist? Visit the Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy for more information.
How can I get involved?
Your organization can join forces with us to improve mental health initiatives across the globe. Contact us to discover all the ways you can support our initiatives. We are always in need of volunteers, art supplies, and services in-kind.
Get in touch with us and your name will be entered on our petitions to help fund youth-centered, innovative mental health and wellness programs.
You can help support mental health! Your donation will go towards keeping our Virtual Art Therapy Clinic open for everyone, including those who are not able to pay for services.
“Your donation of $ 100 or more can support a day of training for one elder or community member to learn the techniques and skills needed to support youth”