For some, traditional talk-therapy is a great way to discuss and process trauma, anxiety, depression, or other life struggles. For others, talk-therapy can be more of a challenge and can leave individuals feeling defeated if they don’t see improvement in their lives.
Many are led to believe that talk-therapy is the only option available to them. In addition to traditional talk-therapy, however, there are alternatives for those struggling to make progress in their therapy sessions.
Among these alternatives is art therapy. Also known as “creative psychotherapy,” art therapy combines traditional methods of mental health counseling with artistic self-expression. With this approach, many treatment-resistant patients can feel an increased motivation and enjoyment while participating in sessions.
Who Can Benefit from Art Therapy?
While individuals of any age can benefit from art therapy, positive results are especially seen in adolescents. Oftentimes, adolescents are averse to sharing how they feel and find themselves struggling with traditional talk-therapy sessions. Due to experiencing several internal and external stressors, mental health symptoms, and developmental changes, adolescents can feel overwhelmed in processing all that’s going on in their lives. Art therapy increases motivation in young individuals and helps them explore and express a multitude of experiences they are going through.
Traditional talk-therapy is also a challenge for those who have experienced trauma, as verbalizing traumatic experiences can be difficult. As an alternative, art therapy offers individuals the space to explore and process the feelings, memories, and effects of trauma on paper. This approach to therapy allows individuals to find a sense of safety and control within their environments and helps them process the trauma they have experienced.
What Does an Art Therapy Session Look Like?
An art therapy session is not like art class, and is much different than a typical therapy session. There’s no right or wrong, and patients do not have to consider themselves to be artistic to experience benefits or enjoyment in sessions. With practice, all individuals can be creative in their own unique way.
In New York State, art therapy sessions are conducted by Licensed Creative Art Therapists (LCAT). In addition to traditional counseling techniques, all art therapists are trained in studio art and can help their patients build confidence and skills with their art making.
At Horizon Health Services, our Licensed Creative Art Therapists work with patients in 45–60 minute sessions to help them express their current thoughts, emotions, and experiences through various forms of art, including dance and movement, creative writing, drawing, painting, and more. In response to the art the patient creates, our trained professionals encourage a conversation to help the individual process and validate their feelings.
It is often said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Through the creative and unique approach of art therapy, individuals can take an alternative approach to exploring and expressing their emotions, allowing for progress toward a happier and healthier life.
In this episode, we discuss a brief overview of art therapy featuring licensed Creative Arts Therapist Anna McCarthy Schwartz. Art therapy offers individuals the space to explore and process the feelings, memories, and effects of emotions and past experiences. This approach to therapy allows individuals to find a sense of safety and control within their environments and helps them process the trauma they have experienced. Listen now!
If you think you or a loved one could benefit from art therapy, call 716-831-1800 to schedule an appointment.