Can Art Therapy Really Improve Your Mental Health?

During challenging times, it can be difficult to express our feelings and share them with others. Processing complex emotions isn’t a simple thing to do, and sometimes we require a language that moves beyond words. While art therapy wasn’t established until the 20th century, art is something human beings have practiced for centuries. It has been used to tell stories, record historical events and communicate ideas. Throughout history, art has also provided a way for us to manage grief, trauma, and hardship. Evidence suggests that artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo, for example, used art to relieve psychological pain. However, you don’t need to be a famous artist to reap the benefits of art therapy.

Today, most of us are facing many stressors at one time. You might be looking for relief from stress at work, financial troubles, or the loss of a loved one after the pandemic. Perhaps you’re a cancer patient or a veteran struggling with PTSD. Medication and traditional methods of therapy are helpful, but some find success with supplementary tools.

The benefits of art therapy may appeal to you if you are looking for something new to try. The question is, is it effective? The short answer is yes. Research suggests that art therapy alleviates anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental health conditions. It also helps individuals manage pain and reduce all kinds of suffering.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy treats mental health disorders and emotional distress through the use of creative expression. While working with a trained art therapist is an option, you can also try art therapy on your own at home. The type of media you work with is up to you, but common options include painting, drawing, collaging, sculpting, composing music, dancing, and writing. You can also participate in group art therapy, which is a great way to connect with others and work together towards a collective goal.

The act of making art gives people the opportunity to escape harmful thinking and work with their hands. At the same time, creating art helps us to unite mind, body, and spirit. Creation is rewarding; it allows us to make something that didn’t exist before. It’s also a highly enjoyable and relaxing pastime. This is why art therapy is such a positive, uplifting experience for participants.

How Can Art Therapy Improve Your Mental Health?

  • Relieve stress and let go of overwhelming emotions. Working on a piece of art allows you to get some distance from stressful feelings. When you are overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious, art therapy can bring a sense of calm to your life.
  • Uncover feelings you didn’t know you had. Once as your hands start moving, you might be surprised by what they produce. Practicing art can be spontaneous, and it allows subconscious feelings to roam free. You may learn more about yourself and find new meaning in life by trying art therapy.
  • Achieve a goal. With art therapy, you get to walk away with something tangible that you created. The feeling of accomplishment you get after creating something beautiful is incredibly fulfilling, whether it’s a painting, a completed journal, or a dance routine.

Who Can Benefit from Art Therapy?

Anyone can benefit from art therapy, and it doesn’t require artistic skill or previous experience. There are many people who say “I can’t draw,” or “I’m not artistic,” but art therapy isn’t about ability. Instead, it’s focused on art-making as a healing process. Using a creative outlet as a means of communicating your emotions is the goal of the practice. Additionally, people of all ages can take part in the experience.

Learn More about Our Therapy Programs at Lead4Life, Inc.

At Lead4Life, we strive to empower every participant in our programs so that they may find their purpose, achieve their goals, and become poised, productive members of their community. We advocate for those in need and assist each and every individual by providing compassionate education and valuable resources like mental health tips so that they can make the very best decisions and develop important life, social, and competency skills. Visit our website or contact us at 240-499-8949 for more information.