Art Therapy

Art Therapy

Mia Bernota, Contributor

Art Therapy – Mia Bernota


Art Therapy is defined as, “A form of psychotherapy involving the encouragement of free self-expression through painting, drawing or modeling, used as a remedial activity or an aid to diagnosis.” Art therapy originated in the 1940s-1950s in psychiatric hospitals by a British artist, Adrian Hill. He discovered the beneficial aspects of drawing and painting and did this often while recovering from tuberculosis. Art therapy should be more readily used because of the non-pharmaceutical, creative process, and clinical effectiveness of it.

A reason why art therapy could be beneficial towards some patients is because it is non pharmaceutical. What readers should understand is that many individuals these days do not believe in modern-day medicine. If you have a mental disorder and are not willing to try prescribed medicine, art therapy can be a great, natural replacement to pharmaceuticals. The Alternative to Meds Center states that, “Alternative to Meds Center programs include the use of art and other therapy modalities (acupuncture, equine therapy, yoga, etc.) to give the client as broad a horizon of recovery options as possible. Some clients might resonate with one or another of these, but all can potentially benefit from a wide enough address to the problem.” This evidence illustrates that these natural therapies can positively benefit those who would not favor medicinal treatment.

The benefits from the creative process throughout art therapy demonstrates that it should be more frequently used with patients who suffer from mental disorders. Art therapy is especially helpful for patients who struggle to express themselves in a group, or individual discussion/verbal session. In a method that is available whenever one chooses to express it, art therapy may also help one appreciate the basic beauty that life has to offer which can be especially impactful towards patients who suffer from depression. Individuals can be seen frequently turning to unhealthy alternatives like drugs or melancholy thought patterns to fill that hole as they lack a creative outlet or are just plain bored. A place to channel such psychological and emotional energy into a more positive outlet is provided by art therapy. In the article,”What is Art Therapy?” by Kendra Cherry, it states that, “The goal of art therapy is to utilize the creative process to help people explore self-expression and, in doing so, find new ways to gain personal insight and develop new coping skills.” This document embellishes that the creative process is one of the main features in feeling better internally which can benefit externally.

The issue of mental health along with mental health treatments is a complex one. It is important to understand that every person will not respond and recover solely from art therapy alone. Every brain is wired differently and everyone will not react the same to different forms of treatments. Some people may claim that art therapy can worsen these mental health disorders if the art therapist is not skilled. This argument is wrong because the Maryland Art Therapy Association states, “Art therapy practice requires knowledge and skills in usage of visual art and the creative process, as well as application of theories and techniques of human development, psychology, and counseling. A master’s degree (MA, MAAT, MS) is the minimum education required to practice art therapy. An undergraduate degree in psychology (BS), or art (BA, BFA), are most commonly completed as preparation for admission into an art therapy graduate program, which must include a specific number of prerequisite credits in various content areas.” This proves that the individuals who provide art therapy are well educated and qualified for this practice.

Art therapy should be more readily used because of the non-pharmaceutical, creative process, and clinical effectiveness of it. It is important for readers to understand this issue because people can explore their emotions, grow in self-awareness, learn to manage stress, increase their self-esteem, discover beauty and improve their social skills by producing personalized art.,required%20to%20practice%20art%20therapy