Art is usually an expression of the inner world of the artist, it reflects their state of mind. It may be related to anything in their surroundings. Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental process. Art therapy is a combination of using art mediums to explore the inner world and conflicts of the individual with its grounding in psychological principles.
Art therapy is usually really useful as it helps to treat mental health problems. It helps to keep our mental health good and helps to heal us. Art is the best way to show our emotions to the world. It is a stress buster. Art is an expressive way to show your feelings and trust me it is a beautiful way! As humans, we experience the world at a sensory, emotional, and cognitive level. A lot of us use a variety of ways to resolve issues that may come up like verbalizing them, penning them down, or even exercising. Art, music, drama, dance and other expressive techniques also provide for a non-verbal and safe space for an individual to release these difficult emotions that they may be unable to verbalize.
Anybody can take part in art therapy. If you are a child, teenage, adult, or even of more age, you can take part in art therapy. It increases your confidence and self- esteem. Mediums like art, music, drama, and other expressive forms help us activate both the left and the right side of the brain equally. The whole process of art either creating it or simply viewing other’s artwork can help individuals explore their emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, build self-esteem, and work on social skills.
Art therapy has done with CBT also. It is more effective when it is done with this. It has shown some amazing results. The focus remains on the process and not the outcome. The idea behind this is that during the creative process the individual would gain insight into the issue. During the process, the internal dialogue and reflection is the key, which helps to process the difficult emotions which the individual is struggling with. No training in art is necessary as it’s not the destination but the route to the destination which is most important.
Art therapy can be utilized in the following ---
- Adults experiencing severe stress.
- Children suffering from behavioral or social problems at school or at home.
- Children or adults who have experienced a traumatic event.
- Children with learning disabilities.
- Individuals suffering from a brain injury.
- People experiencing mental health problems.
Some conditions that art therapy may be used to treat include:
- Aging-Related Issues
- Eating Disorders
- Emotional Difficulties
- Family Or Relationship Problems
- Medical Conditions
- Psychological Symptoms Associated With Other Medical Issues
- Psychosocial Issues
- Substance Use
Art therapy can work well with everyone from children to the elderly. It has shown results when dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, grief, loss, ADHD, eating disorders, emotional distress, brain injury, and even relationship problems. Studies have shown the effect of colors on an individual’s mood and feelings. The presence of artwork in a hospital has shown positive effects on the health of the patients.
During these tough times of the pandemic, if you are feeling overwhelmed you can try exploring and dealing with your feelings through art. A therapist of course would be ideal to guide you through the process and help you understand your feelings. But you can begin small on your own with whatever material you have at home. Open up your child’s stationery cupboard and explore watercolors, crayons, and as many mediums as you can to explore the mediums. There are a variety of art-based techniques like mixing, scratching, mandala, zentangles to name a few.
If not then, all you need is a drawing paper, water, brushes, and watercolors. Give the paper a good coat of water with the help of the brush, close your eyes, and intuitively go towards the first color that comes to you and paint it on the sheet. There is no right or wrong in this as it is the color that signifies your current state of mind. Sit with it to see what it is telling you and where it leads you, don’t try to control the paint. The repeat the process still you are satisfied with the outcome and reflect on what the image is trying to tell you? What do each of the colors signify? Which feeling is predominant? Think back of a time when you felt like that and what did you do? You can then repeat the process when you experience some closure and sense some movement towards resolving the issue.
Art therapy can be done at any place that is suitable to you for example –
1) Group Homes
2) Shelter homes
3) Any art studio where you can do different types of artwork.
7) Private Hospitals
8) Wellness center
9) Any corporate office
10) Women’s shelter homes
11) Old people who live in old age homes, even they can do this.
From the above content, we can easily say that art therapy is playing an important role to make us feel good. Art therapy helps us to show our emotions. It helps to analyze our thoughts, helps to make us feel calm. We feel calm when we show our emotions and art therapy, helps us to achieve this. It helps to express our inner world in the form of art. It helps us to analyze our emotions, feelings, thoughts, and perceptions. In this way, we started to know ourselves better in every way. If you want to become an art therapist then you need to be a licensed clinical psychologist, professional counselor, or social worker to offer psychotherapy services.
Art therapy is not a new concept actually, earlier people used to do art as their hobby. This does not mean people have no time nowadays but things have just changed now. People are so much busy in their studies, jobs, business, etc and because of this, they don't get time to do any kind of creative work. That is why people nowadays are suffering from a lot of mental issues. The art heals us from inside. We tend to understand our emotions better in this way.
Not only in metro cities, but the art therapy is being conducted nowadays in small cities also. Now people are also being aware of this but more awareness is needed.
‘The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.’ -Kurt Vonnegut. Give art a chance you never know where it might lead you.