In our day to day lives, we are surrounded by art. Some people view it as a pastime whereas others have little interest in it. However, it is safe to say that art is a form of creative human expression. We may be surrounded by art, but we are also surrounded by stress!
To relieve stress many people, go to therapy. Typically, therapy involves verbal communication between a client and their therapist. Art therapy provides a form of nonverbal communication between client and therapist. It is an effective way of encouraging children and adults to express their innermost thoughts and feelings without the need for words. Plenty of adults find it hard to talk to a therapist. Many of us express ourselves more easily nonverbally.
Drawing, colouring, painting and doodling are all examples of art forms that can be used as a means of therapy. Its seen as an effective therapy and the science behind it relates to psychoanalytic psychotherapy which is based on attachment theory. It recognises the importance of play as a tool for making sense of the world.
It seems that stress and anxiety are affecting people more than ever. We live in a busy, fast-paced world with many responsibilities. Creating art allows us to free ourselves from daily worries and tensions. It connects us to our thoughts and feelings and as a result, helps us to become more self-aware and resilient. It is said that the combination of creating the art (motor processing) and thinking about expression (cognitive processing) is what makes art therapy so valuable. Art therapy can be massively beneficial in helping individuals to deal with stress and anxiety. Focusing on any activity (reading a book, a hobby) can help to temporarily relieve stress by distracting and refocusing the mind at least for a while. However, dealing with stress more permanently requires more creative solutions.
Engagement in art therapy is very beneficial for the brain. When we produce art, there is increased neural connectivity in the brain region that deals with memory and self-monitoring. Not only this but art therapy can help people who have been exposed to loss or trauma. It can support people in overcoming addiction and mental health disorders. The great thing about art therapy is that it can help the lives of so many people- even if you do not have a major concern or illness.
Art therapy can be misleading and be perceived that it is only for children. The process of art therapy is for all ages. It also does not matter how talented or not at art you are. The goal is not to create a masterpiece but to express yourself through art. All in all, art therapy is very beneficial for physical, emotional, and mental well-being by assisting in an expression of emotions that are often hard to put into words.
Written by Rebekka Johnston