Art can be a means of expression, but it can also be used as a way to heal.
Artists have been experiencing these mental benefits for hundreds of years. But doctors have only begun to explore how art can reveal a person’s psychology in the 20th century. By doing so, they can then create a treatment plan by combining art with traditional psychotherapeutic techniques.
Here’s how art therapy can be beneficial for your well being:
1. Cope with Trauma
If you have experienced a traumatic event in your life, you will need a coping mechanism to help manage your emotional and psychological health.
However, you may find it difficult to talk about your personal issues like most people do. This is why you should consider art therapy instead as a means of communication, and as a way to heal.
An art therapist can help you process those memories and emotions once they understand your art. You will be encouraged to interact with art materials to create something. While you are doing so, your therapist will notice certain colors that you use, or the images that frequently appear. From there, they can depict those symbols and the underlying meaning of your work.
2. Develop Social Skills
Besides private counsel, you can also opt for a group therapy session. In a group session, you will take turns discussing your art and what it means to you with each other. This kind of interaction fosters community and naturally builds your social skills.
There are places like the Eva Carlston Academy that go even further. They are an accredited academic institution that offers a mix of art therapy and education. They focus on adolescent girls who have gone through tough experiences in life. Their fine arts program is aimed to foster their students’ passion for art and life, as well as the practice of self-love.
3. Manage Stress
A 2016 study shows that adults can effectively reduce stress after engaging in any art-making activity for at least 45 minutes.
According to the research, the art session not only reduced cortisol levels, but also increased the participants’ IgA or Immunoglobulin A, a blood protein that’s part of our immune system. In other words, when you’re less stressed, and less likely to get sick.
However, the study reminds us that a little stress is a good thing. We need to experience stress in order to learn how to manage it. In time, we can then become more resilient.
Consider making art the next time you feel stressed out.
4. Control Addiction
In addiction treatment centers, art therapy is combined with other forms of therapy to provide more venues for healing and self-expression. Besides painting and drawing, they also utilize performance art such as acting and dancing.
The idea is to use a nonverbal way for people to communicate when they can’t express themselves in words. This way, psychological issues are brought out and explored. Many times, the artwork is used as a starting point to a deeper conversation.
If you are struggling with an addiction, you may want to visit a treatment center. Try an art therapy program to better express yourself. There may be psychological reasons for your addiction that you won’t be able to resolve without professional help.
Get to Know Yourself Better
Making art has a lot of benefits, and now you know what it can do for your mental health. It can help you heal from trauma and deal with stress. It can also help you understand yourself, so you can learn to temper your emotions better. The best part is that you don’t need talent or any training to begin. Just remember, anyone can do it.