What Is Art Therapy?
Using elements found in Freudian and Jungian psychology, art therapy works on the premise that symbols and images hold meaning both consciously and unconsciously. These images represent an organic form of communication that can often speak volumes more than mere words. But speaking is also a relevant part to the therapy as well. Participants are encouraged to describe their work and through that, self-discovery happens.
Artistic media can be anything that a person can use to create art. This includes paint, markers, chalk or clay, among other things. By working with a chosen medium and creating art, a person has the opportunity to express himself in ways they otherwise may not be able to.
The goal for art therapy is not to diagnose or define a person and his condition.
The aim of art therapy to help a person discover meaning in his life and the art created.
The International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation notes that the goal of the therapist is not to fix or cure the individual or to diagnose or interpret the art created. The therapist acts, in a way, as a conduit for communication and a facilitator for helping the individual to express himself by describing the art and any feelings associated with it.
Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy allows individual to self-direct his art and express emotions in a way that is constructive and productive, and through such practices, new connections, relationships and meanings can be made. Additionally, through this natural flow of discovery, a person can feel more confident in himself as well as how he relates to the community.