Art Therapy Essay

2790 Words 12 Pages
What Is Art Therapy?
Most forms of therapy are centered on verbal communication. Art therapy, however, breaks that mold and introduces a more creative means of both communicating ideas and learning to grow. The American Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as:
Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being.
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However, art therapy is typically the most in psychiatric wards, either individually or in groups. It is currently emerging is family art therapy, and used a lot in the education system, focusing on children who are learning disabled, mentally challenged, emotionally disturbed, socially disadvantaged. According to the AATA, art therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, forensic, wellness, private practice and community settings. Within these settings, art therapy can be applied to an extremely diverse client population in individual, couples, family, and group therapy formats. Art therapy is an effective treatment for people experiencing developmental, medical, educational, and social or psychological impairment. Other individuals who benefit from art therapy include those who have survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural disaster, along with individuals who have adverse physical health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, and other health disability, and finally individuals with autism, dementia, depression, and other disorders. Art therapy helps people resolve conflicts, improve interpersonal skills, manage maladaptive behaviors, reduce negative stress, and achieve personal insight. (AATA, 2013) No matter how it is used, all good art therapy leads to both education and growth. It can be beneficial…