What is artistic therapy?
Artistic therapy is the therapeutic use of art making within a professional relationship, by people in need of emotional support, experiencing illness, trauma or challenges in their lives and by people who seek personal development.
Artistic therapy brings together art making and psychology allowing a client to communicate their thoughts, experiences and difficult emotions in a non-verbal manner.
By creating artworks and reflecting on them, clients can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities and support a recovery process.
Artistic therapists have an in-depth knowledge of psychological theories, human development, clinical practice, spirituality, the arts and the healing potential of art.
Why use artistic therapy?
More and more people acknowledge that having therapy can be a great support in one’s life. Artistic therapy can help you manage stress and emotions that often come with a busy demanding lifestyle or with changes that occur in your life. Being able to have one hour for yourself to reflect on your week, to exhale and to connect with your creative self can help maintain a healthy balance. Artistic therapy can also prevent stress related illnesses.
It may be that you are going through a difficult time or are coping with a long-term illness and feel the need for extra support. Perhaps you would like to explore certain issues with someone other than your partner, a close family member or a friend.
An artistic therapist offers a confidential and safe environment and will listen and work with you without any judgments. She will guide you through your own personal journey and will be there with you along the way.
Artistic therapy offers a space where you can express yourself through an artistic medium, which can give you insight into your personal process and access to hard-to-reach thoughts and feelings.
Perhaps you have tried a talking therapy before and felt that, it was too confronting or didn’t lead anywhere, in that case Artistic therapy, being non-verbal, could be a suitable alternative therapy.
When you are faced with a life threatening or long term illness, your life changes drastically. Managing this change and the emotional impact it may have on you can be achieved by working with an artistic therapist. A separate page has been created on this website on the benefits of artistic therapy for cancer patients.
For children expression through arts comes naturally. In most cases they still feel a strong connection with the world of imagination and can relate to fairytales, metaphors and colours using them to express their feelings and experiences. Being able to relate to its’ medium so effortlessly makes artistic therapy very popular with children.
The benefits of artistic therapy:
Artistic therapy can support someone in dealing with difficult emotions and trauma, resolve problems and conflicts, improve ones sense of wellbeing, reduce pain, anxiety and stress.
Through arts one can communicate thoughts and feelings in times where words fail.
Artistic therapy generates increased self-confidence, self-awareness, empowerment and personal growth.
Who can use artistic therapy?
Artistic therapy is available for adults and children of all backgrounds. Artistic therapy is a powerful form of non-verbal therapy that can be preferred over counselling and psychotherapy where language or words are used as a means of communication. Not everybody is ready to communicate their fears or thoughts and it may feel less threatening to explore them in a non-verbal way through metaphors, colours and themes within artworks. It can also be a powerful resource for self-support in the processes of identifying the underlying causes of illness, both mental and physical and during treatment and recovery from illness.
Clients who come to see an artistic therapist may have a range of issues they would like to see resolved such as:
Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Bereavement, Long-term illness, Cancer, Re-occurring physical health problems, Mental health problems, Being bullied, Insomnia, Unhappiness, Anger, Relationship problems, Divorce, Eating disorders, Lack of self esteem, Trauma, Abuse, Interest in self discovery and Personal growth.
Do you need to be an artist to benefit from artistic therapy?
You don’t have to worry about your artistic talents when coming to an artistic therapy session for the first time. You do not need to be an artist or have any experience with art making to participate in or benefit from art therapy sessions.
Your artistic therapist is trained to guide you step by step through your artistic and personal process.
Even though most of us have been creative in our childhood, it may seem unnatural at first to pick it up again in therapy. This happens because the adult client is no longer used to communicating through the arts.
The process of creating art can be one of the most rewarding aspects. With the guidance of an experienced artistic therapist, you should gradually begin to feel comfortable and more confident in this form of expression. After all, the goal is not necessarily to create a masterpiece but to regain a healthy balance.
To find a local Art therapist or Anthroposophical therapeutic arts practicitioner please contact the suitable professional bodies such as the BAAT for Art Therapists and AATA for Anthroposophical therapeutic arts practitioners (holistic artistic therapists).