“Art can permeate the deepest part of ourselves, where no words exist.” Eileen Miller
What is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy, facilitated by a trained Art Therapist, that combines the creative process of art making with the theories of psychology. Creating art can in-and-of itself be a form of self-expression and healing, but it can also be used as a tool to facilitate verbal communication and to help achieve therapeutic goals. A general goal in Art Therapy is to improve or restore an individual or family’s functioning as well as their sense of personal well-being. During Art Therapy, the focus is on the process as well as the metaphors and symbols within the finished product. Art Therapy is about self-exploration and healing and not about making “good” art; therefore, prior experience is not necessary.
Why Art Therapy?
- Some of us find it difficult to verbalize our thoughts, feelings and emotions. For example, we are too embarrassed; or we lack adequate language or cognitive skills; or we have been exposed to trauma that constricts our freedom to express ourselves verbally. Art Therapy is an intervention that provides the opportunity for nonverbal expression and communication.
- The Art Therapy environment provides a supportive venue in which to safely express and explore strong, sensitive or destructive feelings.
- Discussion about your artwork and the art making process can help both you and your clinician gain insight into your inner world.
- By visually expressing your feelings, even if you can’t identify or label your emotions, you and your therapist will have a starting point from which to address your issues.
Who can benefit from Art Therapy?
Like other forms of psychotherapy, Art Therapy is for people of all ages who may be struggling with issues including, but not limited to: low self-esteem, anger, depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, chronic illness, cognitive impairment, or developmental disabilities/delays. Art Therapy is also for couples and families struggling with issues including, but not limited to: poor communication, difficulty with relationships, family stress, and trauma. Art Therapy sessions can occur simultaneously with traditional therapy, for a limited time, or as a primary means of therapy.
If you or your child are interested in Art Therapy, call Genesis at (757) 827-7707 to schedule an appointment with one of our Art Therapists!
Article By Danica Henrich, ATR-BC, LPC, LMFT, Board Certified Art Therapist with the Art Therapy Credentials Board and therapist at Genesis Counseling Center.
Edited By Sarah Warner, MS