Art therapy has many benefits enhancing the recovery from mental health issues. The term ‘Art Therapy’ refers to psychological treatment involving the process of creating or observing art. Bringing together an in-depth understanding of the process of creating art and psychotherapeutic techniques, art therapy has been known to bring about significant mental health benefits.
The benefits of art therapy are a result of its twin approaches. Art therapy deals with the actual creation process of art as well as the appreciation of the symbolic elements of art (The latter is called art psychotherapy).
Process of Artistic Creation
The former approach is based on the idea that creation of art is a therapeutic process, where the individual can experience relief, both emotional and physical, and personal fulfillment over a period of time. Emotional and mental conflicts often rage as a result of unexpressed feelings and intense emotions. In the creation of art, or the artistic process, the individual can truthfully and spontaneously give vent to self expressions. This can lead to relief from psychological issues for the patient due to the therapeutic effects of the artistic process.
Symbolism of Works of Art
The art psychotherapy approach deals with the concept of art as a powerful means of expression and communication through symbols. The products depicted or created through the artistic process enable effective communication of emotions, conflicts and issues. This has great benefits in the communication between the therapist and the individual. This communication is vital to identify problems and conflicts, and in creating fresh perceptions that result in healing, development and other positive changes in the individual.
Self Identification Through Art
Art therapy explores the self and self identification, realizing the conflicts within and gradually solving them by bringing them to light through the artistic process. Children and adults can equally benefit from this approach.
Identifying the Conflicts
Problems can’t be solved unless they are identified. Issues of the mind often stay hidden, leading to severe emotional and physical stress. Art serves to bring the deep issues hidden within out into the open so that the individual with the help of the therapist can identify the issues, look at them in the eye, and find release of surprised emotions through the creative process. Art can sometime serve to communicate deeper and more comprehensively than words, and this helps in better interaction of the individual with the art therapist.
The Scope of Art Therapy
Often art exhibitions showcase works that run quite deep within the psyche of the human creator. Art therapy uses this creative process to help give the individual relief from the emotional stress and conflicts. The influence of art has not been felt only in emotional healing but also in physical healing and fulfilment. Many hospitals have included art therapy as a means of alleviating the physical stress of the harsh symptoms and hastening the healing process.
Though not all are gifted with the skills to be a master painter or sculptor, everyone has the creative ability. This creative process can improve recovery and communication between the patient and therapist. All benefits of art therapy lie in this concept.