Art is the expression or application of human imagination and creativity, usually in the form of visual media such as painting or sculpture. Art therapy can be described in various ways, but the most fundamental definition is the therapeutic application of visual arts.

According to research, some studies indicate that art therapy effectively treats depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other disorders because art stimulates the release of dopamine. This chemical is released when we engage in enjoyable activities, and it will improve our mood.

Majority of art therapists will employ drawing, sketching and painting with their clients during the therapy. Through these activities, individuals can concentrate on developing and associated with the experience and enhance their capacity for self-reflection and practice new coping strategies to overcome the challenges in their life. 

Why and Who should try Art Therapy? 

Art therapy will expand our understanding of functioning, issues, and adaptation to future obstacles. Besides that, art therapy is beneficial to our mental health because it enables us to take a step back and gives us the chance to evaluate the challenges that we are currently facing. Additionally, it also assists us in expanding our social circle and establishing trustworthy relationships with others.

According to research, art therapy can be effective as a complementary therapy for the treatment of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Psychological issues
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Emotional difficulties 
  • Eating disorders
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Family or relationship issues
Benefits of Art Therapy in Mental Health:

Boost self-esteem
Art therapy will provide us with a sense of self-accomplishment, which may be incredibly good for boosting our self-esteem and self-confidence.

Enhance self-awareness
Art therapy facilitates self-exploration and discovering of an individual’s authenticity.

Self-discovery
Individuals can acknowledge and recognize the feelings lurking in the subconscious, such as reviewing their core values in their life.

Emotional relief
Art therapy can provide a healthy outlet for individuals to express and release their emotions and anxieties.

Stress relief
Art therapy can help individuals relieve stress and relax the mind and body.

Strengthen social skills
Through art therapy, it will not only help individuals to boost their self-confidence and self-esteem, it will also help them strengthen their social circles and skills through group therapy or individual therapy.

Provides healthy self-expression
The process of art therapy will help individuals recognize their feelings, and art therapy will provide more opportunities for self-reflection. 

Benefits of Art Therapy in Physical Health: 
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Reduce ache  (acute pain, chronic pain and more)
  • Improve ability to deal with the pain
  • Improve quality and quantity lifestyle 

Last but not least, art therapy focuses on the process of discovering the meaning and connection in our lives. Although it is challenging during the process, you will embark on a voyage of self-discovery that helps you eliminate the emotional roadblocks and challenges and learn how to communicate with yourself and interact with others happily and comfortably.

References

Abbing, A., Ponstein, A., Hooren, V. S., Sonneville, D. L., Swaab, H., & Baars, E. (2018). The effectiveness of art therapy for anxiety in adults: A systematic review of randomized and non-randomised controlled trials. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208716

Authot, G. (2018, July 10). Creativity and Recovery: The Mental Health Benefits of Art Therapy. https://www.rtor.org/2018/07/10/benefits-of-art-therapy/

Cherry, K. (2021, August 31). What is Art Therapy? Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-art-therapy-2795755 

Dresden, D. (2020, September 29). What is art therapy, and how does it work? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/art-therapy

GoodTherapy. (2016, April 4). Art Therapy. https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/art-therapy

The Wave Clinic. (2021, January 29). The Art of Healing- Using Art as Therapy with Teenagers and Young Adults. https://thewaveclinic.com/blog/art-as-therapy-with-teenagers-and-young-adults/#:~:text=Art%20therapy%20provides%20an%20opportunity,lot%20of%20pressure%20off%20them.

Tiret, H. (2017, May 25). The benefits art therapy can have on mental and Physical Health. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/the_benefits_art_therapy_can_have_on_mental_and_physical_health 

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