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What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a method of psychotherapy which uses the creative process to help people with self-exploration and understanding by combining art making with traditional talk therapy. Art therapy helps people increase their wellbeing and heal from emotional difficulties. Art, including drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, etc., can help people to express thoughts and feelings that would otherwise be difficult to articulate or talk about. Art can help people visualize what is going on in their mind, make sense of it with the help of an art therapist, and learn new ways to change their thinking patterns and behaviors. Creating art is naturally healing and soothing, relieves stress, and increases self-mastery and self-esteem. Art can help you practice mindfulness and being in the moment and this reduces stress.

What does a typical art therapy session look like?

  • An opening check-in for the art therapist and client to decide the focus of the session

  • An opening or warm up activity (optional)

  • Client brings art previously made to the session or art is made in session

  • The main art activity could be spontaneous art where the artist/client picks materials they are drawn to that day, and creates whatever art they feel, or an art activity designed by the art therapist to focus on specific needs of the client/artist

  • Looking at the art, and asking “What do you see”, the client/artist and art therapist look at the art and the therapist asks guiding questions

  • Together, meaning and insight is uncovered from the art 

  • The meaning and insight from the art can help you to process difficult experiences, or gain self-awareness and understanding  

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