Art mirrors an artist's soul. There is a reason art resonates with so many people. On the one hand, it is the artist's reflection; on the other hand, it is open to perception for the viewer. An artwork can say much about its creator's emotions without any words. From brush strokes to color choices, from impressions on wet clay to the streaks of charcoal, every tiny nuance is a medium of expression. Throughout history, great artists have created masterpieces that echo their emotions. On a closer look, you might find that many of them used art to escape their painful reality or to portray the unspoken issues around them.
Although the name ‘Art Therapy’ might imply that a person should require an artistic or creative trait to approach this therapy type, the truth is far from it. It uses the principle of utilizing creative expression as a healing tool. It uses ideologies from art and psychology disciplines. And helps individuals identify and acknowledge their unresolved emotions and emotional conflicts.
The artistic approach to this treatment type is practical and addresses many mental disorders. The gentle and welcoming approach of the treatment type makes it more approachable for patients. From general issues to severe conditions, the therapy type can help treat both psychological and physical ailments to a significant degree. Today, this treatment is widely accessible. You can easily consult a skilled therapist online to know how it can help your concerns.
Humankind has used art as therapeutic solace for the longest time. Cultures worldwide have integrated art and its significance for communicating and healing. Religious sculptures and paintings have given people a sense of connectivity and spirituality. Art and therapy have always had a correlation with each other throughout history.
The expressive/creative treatment umbrella has various forms like dance/movement, arts, music, etc. This treatment modality widely refers to visual art and its application with a therapeutic objective. The therapy type doesn't necessarily focus on equipping any individual to pursue art professionally. It rather enables them to convey their emotions effectively. However, the world identified the concept of art as therapy in the mid-20th century.
British artist Adrian Hill discovered this approach in the year 1942. The concept behind this therapy is predominantly from Hill's experience of dealing with tuberculosis and utilizing art as a distraction from the pain and a medium to portray his discontent with his illness. Hill might have discovered the basics of this therapy, but with time it became more advanced and researched. Margaret Naumburg, Florence Cane, Hanna Kwiatkowska, Edith Kramer, and Elinor Ulman were the five women whose research and writings established this therapy's core principles and concepts.
To date, Margaret Naumburg is widely referred to as the mother of Art Therapy. Her discontent with not being able to express herself entirely inspired her to discover an educational practice that focuses on children's emotional needs and individuality. At a time when the standard academic approach was restrictive and conservative, Naumburg started her "Children's School," which later became the "Walden School." The educational model of this school was rather experimental, as it focused more on enhancing a child's capacity and not simply accumulating knowledge. In 1920, she asked her sister Florence Cane to join the school as a faculty. Every modern theory of Art psychotherapy that we know today is based on the works of Naumburg and Cane.
Another major contributor to the field is Hanna Kwiatkowska. Kwiatkowski was a Polish sculptor and artist who later worked at the National Institutes of Mental Health. She observed how effectively art served as a tool of self-expression among the family members, which led them to identify their respective roles within the family. Another significant pioneer in the field is Edith Kramer. Born in 1916, Kramer studied arts in Vienna, Austria, and immigrated to the United States in 1938 and became an art therapist while working at the Wiltwycks School for Boys. She also established the first Graduate Program in Art Therapy at New York University. Elinor Ulman is another great name. Ulman is credited for establishing the first Art Therapy Journal in the United States, which started as The Bulletin of Art Therapy and later became The American Journal of Art Therapy. She also created one of the initial training programs in the field.
Overall, today's Art therapy is a cohesive therapeutic intervention technique implemented by a professional to help and gently guide an individual. It enhances an individual's ability to recognize and uncover suppressed emotions through the help of visual arts, its creative process, the psychological theory, and, most importantly, the human experience that comes with this psychotherapeutic affinity. The psychotherapy technique uses a gentle approach to:
The therapy type encapsulates personal and collaborative change in a positive direction by helping individuals to become efficient members of society.
A professional creates a treatment session based on their client's unique concerns. And different problems might require a different approach. Depending on the case, a person might develop a liking for a specific type and use it as their emotional outlet. The main goal of visual/artistic therapy practices is to offer a mode of communication without any help of verbal communication. Art therapists might guide individuals, but they do not impose their point of view over the person's creative expression. Here are some variations of visual arts therapy:
Every other type has its own rules and disciplines in the professional field. However, in therapy, they are merely a mode of communication. The outcome of these sessions doesn't require anyone's judgment. They are just a testimony of the person's healing journey.
This therapy's kinder and more accessible approach helps various people with different concerns. Researchers have also found that the efficacy of the treatment across ages, cultures, and the severity of disorders remains unaltered. It can be in the form of group sessions or private practices. Each has its benefits; on the one hand, where a private session can help an individual to express themselves without any worry freely, group sessions enable them to participate in conversations and build self-confidence. But it all depends on the person seeking therapy, their concerns, and their comfort zone. Here are some of the benefits that come from this psychotherapy:
These six principles represent that these techniques can significantly decrease symptoms without it being the core objective of the therapy type.
Skilled Art Therapists draw from their knowledge and expertise and guide individuals to partake in an activity that can help them the best. No single person or case is the same as another. Hence, a professional uses various techniques to get the desired result from therapeutic interventions. With the help of psychological, spiritual, and artistic aspects of the therapy type and clinical approaches, a person can build coping strategies and communication skills.
There is a wide variety of techniques within the therapy type to help an individual effectively. A professional might implement different exercises and methods to attain a specific goal. Here are some standard techniques used:
Through a plethora of research and advancement, today, this therapeutic modality can help treat several psychological ailments. Some of the disorders that are significantly treated include:
Advanced application of the therapy type include:
Seeking help for your mental well-being is a courageous act. And it is crucial to find a suitable professional for you and your unique concerns. Seeking therapy doesn't have to be stressful. With DocVita, you can easily find skilled therapists. And you get the freedom to choose a therapist that is the right fit for your concerns. You can expect total transparency and a non-judgmental environment from our therapists.
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