| |

Healing Through Art Therapy

By Teresa Mohr, LMFT, RPT

Why do you use art in therapy?

This is a question I sometimes hear from new clients when I mention my practice of art therapy. Art is a powerful way to express feelings. Throughout history there are countless examples of people using various forms of art to express things such as cultural identity, celebration, sadness, grief, discontent, and the birth of new ideas.

I find art to be invaluable in allowing clients to express things that they are sometimes unable to with words. Sometimes feelings are too big, too overwhelming, or too scary to express verbally. Art can be a pathway towards externalizing these feelings, gaining a better understanding of them, and making them more manageable.

What types of challenges can art therapy address?

Art therapy can be used to address a wide variety of social and emotional issues. Art therapy can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. It can help clients process and cope with traumatic events. Art therapy can provide an outlet for expressing grief and loss. It can be a healthy way to express reactions to life transitions. Collaborative art projects can help develop and enhance positive social skills. There is a meditative quality to art and the creation of something tangible.  Art can help clients to relieve stress, learn to self soothe, discover new ways of looking at things, gain personal insight, problem solve, take risks, and experiment.

What are some examples of art activities?

The type of art therapy activities I choose depends on the client and the goals that we are working towards. Even the type of art materials we use is important. Some materials such as colored pencils are easier for the client to control and produce more consistent results. In contrast, materials such as finger paint or water color are more fluid and unpredictable.

  • Identify feelings you have on a regular basis. Pick a color for each of those feelings and draw a picture using those colors.
  • Create one mask depicting the face you show the world and create another showing how you feel inside.
  • Draw the outline of a person. Show where you feel it in your body when you get angry.
  • Create a collage that represents you
  • Use paint to show me what the anxious thoughts in your mind feel like

Does someone need to be a “good artist” to participate in art therapy?

Sometimes clients feel self conscious about their artistic ability or level of creativity. There is no need to be a “good” artist in order to participate and to create something meaningful. There is no right or wrong way to create art in a therapeutic setting. Often times, clients are pleasantly surprised with what they are able to create once they open themselves up to the process. Art is a unique expression of the individual or group of people who created it.

Is art therapy just for kids?

Not at all. Why should kids have all the fun? I love engaging my adult clients in art therapy activities. Many times I find that adults feel that they are too busy with work, parenting, and the stresses and demands of daily life to take time to do something creative. Adult clients can find it very freeing to tap into the creative part of their brain and express themselves and their emotions in new ways.

“I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way–things I had no words for. “  — Georgia O’Keeffe

if you are interested in trying art therapy, or just learning more about it, contact us for a Free phone consult.

Stay Connected with Us!

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates, insights, and events from Connections Child & Family Center.

    Similar Posts