The essence of art in our lives
As humans, we all have the profound need to express our thoughts and feelings, and all have different ways of expressing them. Some may speak it out, sing or write songs, write diaries, dance and so on while many others express them through artworks like drawings, canvas paintings or graphics etc.
Art is a very powerful language, and it is found to have powerful effects on our minds. Individuals engage in artwork to feel relaxed after a tiring day, experience positive moods, enjoy playing with colours, explore more artful ideas, etc.
Extended studies by different researchers have concluded that art affects our emotions, thoughts and senses. Many brilliant and upcoming artists express what they wish to convey either directly or indirectly and it is only by enjoying the piece of art, one can carefully interpret what is conveyed. For example, a person who experiences negative moods may randomly throw and spread colour for the viewer to interpret the emotions of anger, sadness or confusion.
Art has also been found beneficial for individuals in terms of new and improved generation of ideas, higher cognitive and artistic performance, increased concentration and attention span, etc. In other words, art is a powerful tool that enhances one’s mental well-being.
What is Art Therapy?
Those individuals who experience emotional abuse, anxiety, trauma, depression etc., can benefit from expressing themselves creatively via drawing and many other artworks that led researchers to explore using art as a healing method or strategy. Additionally, researchers suggest that it is not necessary that people have to go through negative situations in order to experience the benefits of the therapy, even individuals with healthy minds can extract the benefits.
Treating various psychological disorders and enhanced mental health by using artistic methods is called Art Therapy. This therapy is rooted in the idea that using creative processes would foster individuals to practise self-expression, develop coping skills and gain various insights.
How does Art Therapy work?
Irrespective of considering themselves as artists or not, people engage in different forms of art as the therapy takes them on a journey of self-discovery to express their feelings freely and safely and allows them to feel control over their life actions.
Either by viewing someone else’s artwork or creating one, the therapy allows the individuals to explore emotions, boost self-esteem and work on social skills. The creative process of art therapy is enjoyable with the use of the following techniques:
- Painting on canvas or finger painting
- Doodling and scribbling
- Make collages
- Working with clay
The Benefits of Art Therapy
Art therapy is used to treat a whole range of psychological distress and mental disorders. The following are the conditions where art therapy can be used to treat:
- Eating disorders
- Emotional difficulties
- Substance use disorder
- Relationship problems
- Special educational needs and disabilities
- In cases of adults who are trauma victims, art therapy proved beneficial in reducing the symptoms of trauma and depression levels.
- This technique improves the quality of life and alleviates many psychological symptoms for cancer patients and those with traumatic brain injuries (who underwent medical treatment)
- It reduces depression and increases self-esteem among individuals who struggle to cope with their life challenges
- It provides new pathways towards self-expression and new insights for individuals who face cognitive, physical and emotional challenges
- Additionally, practitioners suggest that art therapy enhances specific skills in people such as strengthening their ability to manage stress, self-regulate, understand themselves, develop social skills and improve their conflict resolution approaches.