Individuals with mental health conditions may not always be verbally expressive; however, they may display emotions through creative expressions such as poetry, music, or art. The use of artistic expression can help them reflect on their thoughts, challenges, and desires. Vincent Van Gogh projected his turbulent emotional experiences onto the canvas. He once said: “What lives in art and is eternally living, is first of all the painter and then the painting.”

The healing power of art has long been recognized by artists around the world, but it is now emerging as an evidence-based therapeutic modality for a number of different mental health conditions, including trauma, PTSD, depression, and even schizophrenia. By creating new avenues for self-expression, art therapy provides invaluable benefits for people struggling with even severe mental health challenges. And now, with mounting evidence of efficacy, we are witnessing an increased integration of art therapy within mental health treatment.

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WHAT IS ART THERAPY?

The adult coloring book trend gives a hue of what art therapy can do for an individual. The American Art Therapy Association describes this practice as using “the creative process of art-making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.” Art therapy involves the use of artistic techniques such as writing, painting, clay work, collage, and dramatic play as a form of creative expression that helps people examine the emotional and psychological undertones going on in their lives. It is a particularly helpful treatment modality for those who have problems putting their difficulties and struggles into words.

(Photo:123rf)

Updated: Sep 3, 2020
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