In mental healthcare, art therapy is a form of treatment where clients are helped by art therapists to explore their feelings. This treatment mainly uses art media as a creative procedure which help them to reconcile different emotional conflicts and foster self awareness (Rubin). It also helps them to manage behaviour and addictions and help them to develop social skills and improve reality orientation. This also helps them in the reduction of anxiety and thereby helps increasing of self esteem.
One of the main goals in this form of treatment is to improve as well as restore the functioning of the client and also to develop his or her own perception of well being. This mainly requires the art therapist to master the knowledge regarding visual art which includes drawing, sculpture painting, and different forms of art forms. The therapist also has to gain knowledge about creative process as well as different human developmental stages along with different psychological and counseling techniques and theories.
In the present day, art therapy is widely utilized in a different settings which include different healthcare centers. These can range from including hospitals, psychiatric facilities, wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, forensic institutions, schools, community centers, crisis centers and many other clinical and community centers (Case et al.). Therapists can conduct sessions singly or in groups. In such sessions, therapist usually try to elicit their cline’s’ inherent capacities for making of art for enhancement of the physical, mental as well as different emotional well being of the individuals.
Researchers are of the opinion that such therapy is of great benefits within a professional relationship as it provides therapeutic benefits which is obtained though artistic self expression along with the reflection of individuals who are going through illness, trauma and different mental health problems as well as for those who seek personal growth (Talwar). People who are going through developmental, educational, mental, psychological as well as social impairment gets good benefit from such sessions. People suffering from trauma like abuse, combats, and natural disasters also find it helpful (Pratt, Mandy Michele). Person who also suffers from serious physical health conditions like cancer, traumatic brain injury as well as different types of disability are benefitted. Patients of art therapist also include persons who are suffering form autism, depression, dementia and several different disorders.
Art therapy is mainly found to help people resolve different types of conflicts as well as help in improvement of different interpersonal skills. They also help to manage problematic behaviors and reduction of negative stress (Kaiser). Researchers also state that help in achieving personal insight. Moreover, it also provides opportunity for the clients to enjoy the life affirming pleasures of art making.
Thus form the entire discussion above, it can be concluded that art therapy is a form of treatment which helps in the creation of art which helps in the increasing of awareness of self and others. This actually helps in personal development by increasing coping skills and enhancing cognitive functions. It is mainly based on human development, personality theories, family systems, education on art and psychology. This form of treatment is gradually getting included in mainstream treatment procedures and contains positive evidences of success.
Case, Caroline, and Tessa Dalley. The handbook of art therapy. Routledge, 2014.
Kaiser, Donna, and Sarah Deaver. "Establishing a research agenda for art therapy: A Delphi study." Art Therapy 30.3 (2013): 114-121.
Pratt, Mandy, and Michele Wood, eds. Art therapy in palliative care: The creative response. Routledge, 2015.
Rubin, Judith Aron, ed. Approaches to art therapy: Theory and technique. Routledge, 2016.
Talwar, Savneet. "Ethics, Law, and Cultural Competence in Art Therapy." (2017): 102-105.