Practitioners of Art Therapy use paint and painting materials to help individuals express their emotions and feelings.
The act of painting and its end result can enable people to realise subconscious or suppressed emotions. It provides individuals with a non-verbal means of communicating feelings. The three-way relationship between the therapist, individual and visual artefact is central.
Art as a therapy dates back to the 1940s and was used in psychiatric hospitals. It was found that painting and other creative activities helped patients to articulate hidden feelings, enabling art therapists and students to establish a beneficial, therapeutic relationship.
Art therapy is a type of Expressive Therapy. This approach includes other areas of the arts such as drama, sculpture and dance.
It is thought that this kind of psychotherapy can encourage healing by enabling people to express themselves creatively. It has become a well-established and effective technique.
How can it help?
Art therapy is suitable for anyone interested in exploring their inner feelings and emotions. It is especially useful to those who find it difficult to express themselves verbally, helping them to achieve personal growth and development. It is a proven technique and courses are used widely in hospitals, prisons and educational centres.