They say that art imitates life. It is a medium of expression of one’s creativity. It conveys a lot of ideas and feelings. Art is a product of human activity that stimulates the senses and evokes different types of emotions. It is the mind’s interpretation of what it perceives and expresses it in symbols, words, drawings, music, dance, plays, etc. It comes from the mind of its creator. If art imitates life, and an expression of human activity, then art can help us understand an individual’s state of being through his works.
Some artists paint on canvasses while others find satisfaction in something deeper: the art of inner healing. Artists who are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, including spiritual, multicultural, and artistic traditions have discovered the healing potentials of art. Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art by people who experience a variety of challenges in life, such as stress and anxiety, emotional problems, depression, illnesses, and other health conditions. It is also for people who seek personal development and fulfillment.
Art creations and their processes increase self-awareness and the ability to cope with struggles in living which include coping with symptoms, stress, and traumatic experiences. Art therapy helps to enhance cognitive abilities and provides life-affirming pleasures. In art therapy, creation may start with an urge to make a doodle or sketch, or with a certain feeling, dreams, memories, or just a plain idea. The next step is to give it a physical form with the use of a clay or paint or any tool one would like to use for his creation. This is a creative play that provides a means to express something that has no word or is not yet understood.
There are a number of reasons why people come to art therapy. Most people who are grieving a loss of a loved one, undergoing depression, trauma, sexual abuse, and drug or substance addiction find relief and courage through creative expression. Others who are mending broken relationships, exploring their dreams, or seeking renewal and meaning in their lives have found the depth of art therapy to be very helpful and effective.
Art therapy can provide a deep sense of safety as it becomes to be a trusted place to consider these private images or expressions. Picture, sculptures, and other forms of art offer a kind of nourishment, healing insights, and a fresh respect for one’s creativity. There are people who prefer to work in silence. But there are also times when a unique dialogue between a client and a therapist takes place. The finished artwork remains as a source of further reflection after the session. For art therapy, creativity, its process, and the experience is given more emphasis than coming up with a beautiful product. A drawing of an ugly picture can be an important expression. Just the act of picking up a crayon and making a mark can be a powerful expression to some people who have not done any art since grade school. Engaging in artworks can evoke feelings and relive memories of those days.
Art therapists with proper training have also become professionals in the field of aesthetics and therapy. They are experts about the healing potential of art. They use art in treatment, assessment, and research. They provide consultations to allied health professionals and work with people of all ages, individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities. Services are provided individually or as part of clinical teams in different locations and settings that include mental health, rehabilitation, medical and forensic institutions; community outreach programs; wellness centers; schools; nursing homes; corporate structures; open studios, and independent practices. To experience and to regain creativity can be empowering, as well as pleasurable. Connecting creativity with therapy greatly helps in exploring the struggles and challenges of daily normal life.