Art Therapy for mental health treatment

Art & Healing
by Emmy Hirsch, guest blogger

As Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Art can be an extremely effective tool in mental health treatment. Because art is such an expressive medium, it can be used to help people overcome stress, communicate, deal with past and current traumas, and explore different answers to a seemingly impossible problem. The American Art Therapy Association describes Art Therapy as “a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotion well being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight.”

Art Therapy was formally discovered in the twentieth century when doctors noted that individuals suffering from mental illness often expressed themselves in drawings. This led many to explore the use of art as a healing strategy and since then, Art Therapy has integrated psycho-therapeutic techniques with the creative process to improve mental health. Art Therapy is used to treat a wide range of mental disorders and psychological distress, including cases involving children with learning disabilities, adults suffering from severe stress, individuals combating behavioral and social problems, patients recovering from brain injury, and people who have experienced traumatic events.

Look on Dr. Malchiodi’s website for
more information about Art Therapy

An art therapist uses a variety of art methods including drawing, painting, sculpture, and collage. You may ask yourself how an Art Therapy session differs from the average art class. In Art Therapy sessions, individuals are pushed to focus on perceptions, feelings, and imagination. Cathy Malchiodi, a leading international expert and educator in the fields of art therapy and art in healthcare, explains that the emphasis is not on the art but on learning to develop and express the images that come from the mind and soul. The art is just a way to communicate these senses.


Visit the American Art TherapyAssociation’s Website
Emmy Hirsch is an intern at SchulmanArt and will be an incoming freshman at Franklin and Marshall College.

Art Therapy is an effective treatment for people experiencing developmental, medical, educational, social, or psychological impairment. Though it helps people resolve conflicts, reduce stress, manage behavior, and achieve personal insight, Art Therapy also provides an opportunity to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.

mentioned in this post: @ArtTherapyNet @arttherapynews

On this day of remembrance (9/11/13, art can help us find peace and be centered….

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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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