Art is by nature individualistic, versatile and a great form of expression. Although it can be created in a group setting, it is commonly experienced during times of solitude and, depending on the medium, can be made in a variety of studios and spaces. Art can allow you to show feelings and emotions that you may not otherwise be able to express. It transcends words and is something you can experience every time you interact with it. Because of all these qualities, it is an amazing type of therapy that can help you work through trauma, stress or other issues.
Make a Strong Connection
There are many types of therapy, but what makes art therapy special is that you and your therapist share an interest in creating. Finding an art therapist who you respect and can make a strong connection with is important right from the beginning. Be sure you work with someone who focuses on you and makes use of technology to keep your sessions safe, secure and moving forward. Using cloud computing to store notes and images of your work is smart for having access to throughout your therapy, establishing goals and expectations is key to marking progress, and communicating what media you enjoy most but being flexible to try other forms can lead to successful therapy.
Express Without Judgement
Art therapy allows you to express yourself without limitations or judgments. You are free to show and not just tell the emotions experienced because of depression, addiction, abuse or other trauma. Painting, drawing or sculpting can be an outlet for feelings you cannot put into words as well as a stress reliever. It can be a source of expression and achievement that builds up your self-esteem. Art is a way of communicating without words that can be very powerful because it is visual and is a process experience that, through creating, fosters healing. Because you are creating, you are improving focus and discipline which are important factors in any type of therapy.
Learn and Listen
One aspect of art therapy that makes it unique from other types of therapies is that it can be done in a variety of forms that can be different every session. You can begin therapy by expressing yourself in the forms you are most comfortable with so that you are not limited by lack of ability. Then, as your confidence grows and you connect addressing your goals in therapy with your media, you can branch out to different materials and even learn new methods. Your art will become a positive outlet as you move through the focus points of where you need healing. Listening to your therapist for meaning and interpretation of what you produce will build skills both as an artist and as a patient on the road to recovery. Learning different methods will increase your self-esteem, knowledge and experience and will be an interesting way to mark progress. As your sessions continue, you may look back in your records to the first painting you made that was mostly dark and impressionistic. After six months, you throw a bowl on a pottery wheel, paint it sky blue and plan to use it as a showpiece in your family room. The difference in expression, engagement and attitude can be remarkable and recordable.
The reasons for therapy vary according to the individual and the best therapy type depends on your personality and goals. Art therapy can be a great fit for you if you like to create and are open to using this form of expression to work through any problems you may be facing or have experienced in the past. You may create a watercolor of your happy place that will hang in your kitchen for years as a reminder of your healing journey. Even after the sessions are finished, you can create art for self-expression with the techniques you learned for a lifetime.