What is Art Therapy & How Does it Work?


There are many different types of therapy around these days. Expertise has expanded greatly in recent years and therapy across the likes of addiction, mental health and trauma are being more and more tailored to suit a patient’s needs.

Art therapy is something that has become increasingly popular in recent times, and many of the best alcohol and drug rehab clinics are using it as treatment to get people into recovery and their lives back on track.

If you feel like yourself, or a loved one, may be needing therapy right now and are wondering exactly what art therapy entails, here’s a lowdown on what it is and how it works…

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a process that taps into the creative side of a person to improve their mental, emotional and psychological wellbeing. The form of psychotherapy is based around that the work a patient creates will enable them to explore their emotions and find healing within their work.

Aided by art therapists, it provides them with insight into the state of mind of an individual, allowing them to get to the root of the problem and create a plan to manage and maintain sobriety or positive mental health for the rest of their lives.

So, how does it work?

Art therapy works by providing patients with an outlet for various ways to showcase self-expression and reflection. What it allows them to do is:

Express themselves non-verbally

For people who don’t necessarily like to talk, it provides them with an outlet to unlock their thoughts and emotions in a non-verbal way. This is not only helpful for the therapist guiding them on their journey, but also themselves.

Patients will be able to explore emotions that are unsonsciously projected into their artwork, with therapists then guiding them through their meaning and the significance of them. Often these will be found in metaphors or symbolism, with colours, shapes and images all playing a vital part in expression.

Reflect on work

Much of the progress comes through reflection on the work. The dialogue between patient and therapist when discussing their work allows a patient to understand the significance of their work and how it reflects their mental health or the root causes of things like addiction. This can be instrumental in entering the recovery phase.

Boost self-esteem

Ultimately, art therapy is a goal based exercise. While the process of it is calming and therapeutic, both important practices while going through treatment, the end result can bring real sense of achievement.

This can boost self-esteem and provide them with a go-to activity when they are feeling low in a bid to destress and boost confidence in themselves.

Art therapy has proven to be a real hit with so many patients over the last few years, and by being creative can really transform lives for the better.


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