Understanding the Psychological Effects of the Creative Process
Art therapy is a unique discipline that involves creative techniques of visual art medium to express one’s inner most feelings. As a therapeutic art form, art therapy can range from individual therapy to the whole group therapy. This type of therapy seeks to enhance the emotional well being and personal integrity of a client by providing creative means of expressing self and feelings through art. In many cases, art therapists also engage in activities such as cooking or sewing, playing music, painting, dancing, gardening, pottery, photography or even acting. All of these techniques enhance and support a sense of personal mastery in clients.
Although art therapy was developed as an aesthetic educational program in mental health clinics, more people are seeing it as a useful therapeutic practice for individuals as well. The creative process that occurs during the art therapy process helps to de-stress and allows for better mental health. When the process is completed successfully, art therapists are often able to identify deeply buried emotions that may have been releasing through the painful experience.
Art Therapy works best when used with other mental health treatments, such as mental health counseling and behavioral therapy. This type of treatment helps to build relationships between patients and their art therapists as well as increasing communication between the two individuals. It is thought that art therapy can be effective for any patient struggling from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, alcoholism, sex addiction or bulimia. Some forms of art therapy, such as aromatherapy, are designed to address specific needs of the client’s illness and may require professional certification.
There are several areas that are specifically catered towards the concept of art therapy. The National Center for PTSD offers information and resources on how to manage and combat traumatic brain injuries and the devastating effects it can have on victims. Art Therapy Association of America supports a variety of counseling and behavioral practices that are designed to assist clients who suffer from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other trauma. These services also work towards reducing symptoms associated with these illnesses and learning healthy ways of coping.
For those suffering from a mental health condition, art therapy may be an effective tool to alleviate some of their stress and feelings of sadness or frustration. It is important to remember that all mental health conditions should be treated and controlled by a licensed professional. Therapy does not cure any condition, but it can help to provide relief and can also offer hope. There is extensive research available on the psychological effects of music and art. In a number of studies conducted by various teams of researchers, there has been evidence to suggest that there is a positive correlation between music and increased levels of happiness and depression, and a lower level of stress among individuals in general.
It is clear that there is a strong correlation between the creative process and mental health and well-being. Art Therapy is a powerful therapeutic technique that offers a positive way of healing for individuals as well as families. This type of therapy is becoming more popular and many centers across the country are now offering this type of therapeutic service. If you or a loved one are interested in receiving treatment for your mental health condition, then it would be wise to explore the possibility of incorporating the artistic process as part of the treatment regimen. You will be amazed at the positive benefits that come from receiving treatment using this innovative, natural method for healing.