What is Art Therapy?

        At Creative Expressions, Art Therapy is available, as well as verbal therapy. The decision to participate in Art Therapy is entirely up to the client. 

        According to The American Art Therapy:  "Art therapy is 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. A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being." https://arttherapy.org/ 

         Art therapists uphold the concept that art therapy is about the process, not the product, meaning that what is created is not evaluated based on technical skill or acuracy, it is about what the creative process is expressing. As an art therapist, I work to understand and help the client understand their creative language and how to address internal conflict creatively. Art Therapy assists in externalizing a problem to talk about the art work, instead of an abstract problem within the one's self. It uses visual expression in substitute of or in compliment to verbal expression. Materials range from the more controlled to looser: colored pencils, markers, chalk pastels, Pencils / Colored Pencils, Crayons, Collage, Markers, Oil Pastels, Chalk pastels, glue, play dough, water colors, acrylic paints, paper mache, and wet clay. You do not need to have any experience with art materials in order to do art therapy. Often times the clients who have no experience with art materials are surprised by the transformative power of the creative process. 

         Art therapy can be extremely helpful in addressing trauma due to the way individuals experience trauma in the brain. Trauma tends to be stored in the non-verbal areas of the brain which makes verbal trauma narratives difficult to express and can sometimes even be counter-therapeutic. Using visual expression to access different areas of the brain can generate new neural pathways and foster healing and growth. 

For more information and videos on Art Therapy, check out: https://arttherapy.org/art-therapy-action/