What Is Art Therapy?
Art Therapy is a psychotherapy process utilizing a variety of art media including crayons, paint, markers, play dough, glitter, clay, collage, and many other materials to help children and others heal from psychological difficulties they may be experiencing.
When children become depressed, stressed, act out, or suffer from low self-esteem art expression is a natural way to communicate difficult feelings. By using their imagination to create art and reflect on their drawings and paintings, children can increase their self-awareness and learn to cope with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences. Art therapy can help children identify and express emotions and conflicts, enhance problem-solving, and increase self-esteem.
Art therapy has been proven to be a creative outlet for children struggling with challenges in their young lives. Children often find it difficult to properly express themselves in a clinical setting, especially very young children who have limited vocabularies. However, children are naturally creative, and it is usually easy for them to draw a picture rather than answer questions. The art therapist will provide the artist materials, customized to the individual needs of each child.
With the help of the trained therapist, the child will be able to discover the meaning of the picture and discuss the underlying issues that inspired the artwork. Working together, the therapist will guide the child to grow and heal.
The American Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as “a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.”
Children may be reluctant, angry, or may not have the words to convey feelings about discussing certain topics. Creating artwork is a non-threatening method that allows youngsters to face serious issues in a creative way.
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