Art Therapy and Creative Healing


There is much more to art therapy than simply “drawing your feelings.” Making art in therapy can be a way to achieve personal insight as well as healing. Art therapists are professionally trained to guide people through the creative process in a therapeutic way. According to the American Art Therapy Association, Art therapists elicit their clients’ inherent capacity for art making to enhance their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

You do not need to be trained or experienced in art to participate in art therapy. Art therapists’ have specialized training in assessing which materials to suggest based on the issues you are facing, or any difficulties that may arise in the creative process. Art therapy can include a wide range of art materials and processes such as, painting, drawing, clay-work, collage, mask making, creating a visual journal, just to name a few. Selection of art materials are often first considered based on a number of factors including but not limited to age, development, fine motor skills, and present issues for seeking therapy. Materials can range from easily controlled, such as drawing materials (colored pencils, markers) and collage images, to extremely wet and difficult to control materials such as watercolor paint, chalk pastels, and sometimes clay. The art therapist will use this continuum to tailor the selection of art materials and experientials to meet the needs of each client.

You are the expert on your own artwork and creative process. The art therapist’s role is to facilitate explorations of your work rather than to analyze or interpret it. Using a variety of approaches, the art therapist will focus on your process of creating, sometimes more so than the finished product.

Here are just a few ways you can benefit from art therapy:

            -Finding safety

            -Foster awareness

            -Empower resilience

            -Manage behavior and addictions

            -Reduce anxiety

            -Reconcile emotional conflict