Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art to improve and enhance a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It combines the creative process with psychotherapeutic techniques to improve mental health, reduce stress and promote overall wellness. Art therapy is a form of creative expression that allows people to explore their feelings, thoughts, and emotions in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
It’s important to understand that mental health issues can impact our lives in many ways. For example, stress caused by work or family problems can lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and headaches. Additionally, mental health issues can cause us to have difficulty functioning in our everyday lives, such as going to school or work.
And these issues can also lead us down a path of negative feelings and thoughts about ourselves, which can lead to depression and anxiety. It’s why it’s important to find ways to manage our mental health issues, like art therapy, and seek professional help whenever necessary to keep us living our best lives.
The Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy has many benefits for mental health, including:
Who Can Enjoy the Benefits of Art Therapy?
Art therapy can be beneficial for anyone who wants to explore their creative side or improve their mental health. It is particularly useful for people who have difficulty communicating verbally, such as children and those with speech impediments. It can also be helpful for people who have experienced trauma or abuse, as it provides a safe and healing environment to express themselves.
Art therapy is also useful for people who are struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, or any other mental health issue. It can help them to explore their feelings and emotions, develop coping skills, and improve their mood. If you are considering art therapy, please consult a mental health professional to see if it is the right treatment for you.
How to Get Started with Art Therapy at Home
If you are interested in trying art therapy at home, consider art-as-therapy or therapeutic art. Both are options you can try on your own or, in support of professional therapy, and offer a great way to relieve stress and learn new coping skills.
Here are some art-as-therapy ideas you can try:
Leveraging any and all art forms to create something that is uniquely yours can have a profound impact on your mental health and wellbeing. It can be a powerful tool for self-expression and for making positive changes in your life. Art-as-therapy is an approach that is increasingly being recognized and used by mental health professionals as a valuable treatment option with results.
What Type of Art Could You Participate in With Art Therapy?
There are many different types of art that you could participate in with art therapy. This includes:
These are simply a few examples of the types of art that you could participate in with art therapy. There are many other options available, so be sure to explore and find something that you enjoy.
Can Art Reduce Stress?
We all know that the mind and body are not separate entities. If you’re physically stressed or in pain, your mental health will also suffer. The reverse is also true. If you are depressed, anxious, or under emotional stress, it will also affect your physical well-being. This is where various types of art can come in as a form of therapy. A recent study has shown the direct impact patients who engage in creative outlets have on their dopamine levels.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for happiness, pleasure, and motivation. Low levels of dopamine are associated with depression, anxiety, and stress. With this logic, engaging in creative activities can increase your dopamine levels and improve your mood.
Making Art-for-Therapy a Group Activity
Art-for-therapy can also be a great group activity. This is a great way to get to know other people who are interested in art, and it can also be a fun way to share ideas and experiences.
To get started:
- Find a group of people that you want to do art-for-therapy with. This could be family, friends, coworkers, or anyone else who is interested in expressive art.
- Decide on a type of art that you want to do together. This could be drawing, painting, sculpting, textiles, collages, music, performance, etc.
- Get together, pick up your supplies and start creating! Be sure to share your art with each other and discuss the process and what you’re creating.
- While engaging in your art together, consider opening up about why you’re doing art-for-therapy and what you hope to get out of it. Doing this can help make the experience more beneficial for everyone involved by validating each other’s experiences and feelings. It can also help build a stronger bond with the people doing art-for-therapy with you.
- Participating in group art-for-therapy truly holds the power to help reduce stress and anxiety in your life. By doing it with others, you can enjoy the benefits of therapeutic art practices while also building stronger relationships with the people around you.
The Benefits of Art Therapy Find All Kinds of Artists
The next time you feel overwhelmed or stressed, why not turn to art as a form of therapy? As you can see, there are many different types of art that you can try, so find one that sounds interesting to you and get started. This therapeutic self-care tool can be done by anyone, anywhere with just a few basic tools. Sometimes all I need to process my thoughts is a pen and paper.
Knowing that art can help relieve stress and also improve your mental health in other ways as well makes it at least worth trying. Visit our Art Corner and find that art is more than therapeutic, but a hobby or even a marketable skill!
- Avison, W., & Gotlib, I. H. (Eds.). (1994). Stress and mental health: Contemporary issues and prospects for the future. Springer Science & Business Media. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-1106-3
- Heenan, D. (2006). Art as therapy: an effective way of promoting positive mental health? Disability & Society, 21(2), 179-191. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687590500498143
- Lee, J. H. (2021). Effectiveness of group art therapy for mothers of children with disabilities. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 73, 101754. 5. Federica D’Andrea, Victoria Tischler. (2020) “It inspires me and suddenly the ideas come”: exploring the use of cultural venues in mental health care. Arts & Health 0:0, pages 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2020.101754
- Zaidel D. W. (2014). Creativity, brain, and art: biological and neurological considerations. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 8, 389. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00389
Jenny Weatherall is the co-owner and CEO of Eminent SEO, a design and marketing agency founded in 2009. She has worked in the industry since 2005, when she fell in love with digital marketing… and her now husband and partner, Chris. Together they have 6 children and 3 granddaughters.
Jenny has a passion for learning and sharing what she learns. She has researched, written and published hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics, including: SEO, design, marketing, ethics, business management, sustainability, inclusion, behavioral health, wellness and work-life balance.