How to Use Art Therapy As a Means of Stress Relief

How to Use Art Therapy As a Means of Stress Relief

Art is therapeutic and is sometimes called expressive art or art psychology that is facilitated by the art therapist, in applying art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, resolve emotional conflicts, further self-awareness, manage performance and obsession, increase social skills, improve reality orientation, decrease anxiety, and raise self-respect.

A purpose in art therapy is to get better or reinstate a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being. Art therapy practice requires information of visual art, the creative process, as well as of human development, psychological, and design theories and methods. It is used as the focus and medium of communication. Almost any medium can be used for art therapy include painting, drawing / sketching, sculpting and clay modelling.

Today art therapy is widely practiced in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, wellness centers, forensic institutions, schools, emergency centers, senior communities, private practice, and other clinical and community settings. During individual and/or group sessions art therapists elicit their clients’ inherent capacity for art making to boost their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Research supports the use of art therapy within a professional relationship for the therapeutic benefits gained through artistic self-expression and reflection for individuals who experience illness, trauma, and mental health troubles and those in search of personal development.

A helpful treatment for people experiencing developmental, medical, educational, and social or psychological impairment where the individual has also survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural disaster; persons with adverse physical health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, and other health disability; and persons with autism, dementia, depression, and other disorders. Art therapy helps people resolve conflicts, develop interpersonal skills, manage challenging behaviors, decrease depressing stress, and achieve personal insight as it also facilitates people with their social skills.

The benefits of art therapy in these types of conditions can help with people who are reserved or shy, or who, for some reason or another, have a hard time functioning within social situations. On the whole, the benefits of art therapy can be quite wide. It can improve lives by helping people improve their mental, emotional, and even physical states therefore increases the quality of life for many people, and it is worth considering if it can aid you in some way or another to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of art making.

The many benefits that can be experienced by the use of this healing modality are:

  • Allowing unspoken words to be expressed
    • Encourages to build trust in a safe environment and be understood
    • Help increase their self-esteem and self-respect
    • Assists in gaining a new, more objective perspective on their challenges
    • Allows you to start experiment with change that can later be applied
    • Provides a secure outlet for feelings such as fear, guilt, ache, rage and anger
    • Encourages clients to make constructive choices and to gain hope for the future
    • Tap into internal power and use existing strengths to build more skills which can facilitate them manage complex emotions and circumstances in other areas of life

Art therapy can help children and teens to process:

  • Experiences of sorrow, loss or separation
    • Trauma and developmental stress
    • Life transitions
    • Injury/ accidents
    • Birth of a sibling
    • Parental separation/ divorce
    • Hyperactivity
    • Disabilities physical, learning or invisible
    • Emotional issues (fear, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, anger etc.
    • Behavioral issues (aggression, withdrawal, impassivity, tantrums etc.

It could simply be the act of executing artistic expression on your own or with others, or possibly it’s in search of professional help with a qualified art therapist. Either way, the benefits of art therapy make it worth exploring as a mechanism for healing.



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