You don’t need to be able to draw or sculpt like Michelangelo. Just getting into a creative process, guided by an art therapist, can help you connect with what’s important to you and tackle challenges like stress, anxiety and chronic illness. We take a look at the many benefits of art therapy.
Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy in which clients, facilitated by an art therapist, use the creative process of making art to explore their feelings and connect to their inner wisdom. The art can be visual art and involve everything from chalks and pastels, to painting or clay. But it can also incorporate drama, dance or movement.
The creative process offers the opportunity to assess where you are at in your life now, to explore values and patterns of being, and to make choices about how to move forward.
Art therapy isn’t about someone showing you what to do or how to paint. It’s about working through the issues that come up in the process of creation. Art therapy is a powerful tool for accessing the unconscious and for self-realisation. You don’t need to find the words to explain how you’re feeling. It’s a simple and wonderfully freeing way to find an alternative path to healing.
What are the benefits of art therapy?
- Empowering clients to cope with and accept the lives they’re living
- Tapping into the present moment and entering the flow state. A CNN report explains why this happens and how it is helpful, especially in helping prevent dementia
- Being able to access some memories and experience them anew
- Identifying with your inner world, not what everyone else sees or expects of you
- Coming back to yourself as a human being and finding the answers, living from the inside out.
Where can art therapy help?
Australia’s art galleries run Art and Dementia programs, which provide people living with dementia an opportunity to connect with the world in an enriching way. Monique says art therapy can bring back a lot of memories and connect clients to a world they know they belong to. In particular, Australians who are ageing have a lifetime of experiences and knowledge where art therapy might be the perfect outlet for creativity.
Art therapy can also help with stress and anxiety, depression, grief, post-traumatic stress, eating disorders, chronic illness, life transitions, life direction and belonging, self-esteem and personal empowerment.
Whether or not you engage in therapy, why not keep a journal or book where you can draw daily and just create something? Art itself is therapy whether it’s gardening, crochet, knitting, collage or clay. It’s the process of shutting down the outside world and being present for yourself.
Would you like to get in touch with your inner artist? Why not find a support worker on Better Caring to help you get in touch with your creative side?
If you’d like to find an art therapist, visit the Australian Creative Arts Therapist Association site.