Art therapy is not recreational although it can be relaxing.
It is not occupational, although it has roots in the occupational services offered after WWII that helped with recovery and healing of broken bodies, minds, and spirits. Art therapy is not an arts and crafts activity, although a wide variety of materials are used. Art therapy is not an art class where an end product is judged or interpreted, although creative expression can result in unexpected surprises. Art therapy is not about artistic skill, training or experience, although creative expression is encouraged.
Art therapy is however, a uniquely interactive therapeutic approach that integrates psychological and developmental theory, creativity, and art making processes so that the stories of the individual, family, and community can be told. The telling of a story can be the first step to recovery, growth and positive change. Empowerment and resiliency can build when the individual and their story are seen, heard, and valued.
Art Therapy Philosophy
Creative expression allows the story of human experiences to come into being and to be visible. Finger-painting, shapes of clay, pencil marks on paper or a weaving can give voice to the memories and emotions even when “there are no words.” Although not planned, the creative expressions often present with astounding accuracy and clarity, offering new perspectives and directions for growth and well-being. Facilitated by the professional art therapist, the individual is safely supported in their discoveries about the meaning of their art making, thereby gaining insight and deeper understanding of their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual concerns. Art therapy is beneficial for all ages and for a wide range of issues. Think “therapy with a crayon.”