How Art Contributes To Our Overall Wellness





Art is a tremendous help to people who have mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, and more. “Drawing, painting, or molding objects from clay has been scientifically proven to help people to deal with different kinds of trauma,” says Maria Cohut, PhD. It creates a healthy learning environment where there is room for improvement and wellness. It benefits people who are suffering from medical conditions not just psychologically but physically by promoting their healing process.

Studies reveal that patients who are doing art therapy show a significant improvement in their health compared to those who rely mainly on medications and aggressive interventions. For this reason, doctors use art as a complementary method in the treatment of patients with medical conditions.

Art therapy can contribute to severe medical health conditions such as cancer and heart problems. It is due to its benefits in diffusing stress which is one of the leading factors contributing to these diseases. It can also psychologically prepare patients who will undergo surgeries.


Art Therapies Used To Aid In Healing And Improvement Of Medical Conditions


Drawing is a type of art which uses pencil, ink, charcoal, or markers to create details. Some mental health conditions such as autism can cause a person to do extraordinarily with his vision and memory, making him remember every aspect of an image in front of him.





Painting is an art which involves the use of different colors of paint to create images using paintbrushes or sometimes just the hand. It is an activity which allows patients to express their feelings and emotions freely. Sometimes, communication is a challenge for people with health conditions, and through the use of art, they can show what they confine within them. “[L]et go of results; create something that’s just for you in a drawing journal, a canvas, or whatever you have handy,” says Elizabeth Scott, MS.


Sculping is the use of clay, wood, or metal to mold, form, or shape an idea. The mind works with the hands to bring to life the feelings and emotions confined within a person. Whether he is happy, sad, angry, or frustrated, sculpting can be a tool to divert all the overwhelming feelings that are sometimes too much to handle.


Art can contribute to the healing and wellbeing of a person whether it is psychological or physical. That is why healthcare providers acknowledge it by prescribing and using it as an additional therapy for treating a condition.




How Art Works In Our Overall Wellness


  • Art is vital as a tool for expressing oneself, and as already mentioned, some mental health conditions cause difficulty in communication. It allows for self-expression and breaks the barrier between a person and his environment. It creates a connection between the mind and the physical element of this world.


  • Through art, a person can feel a sense of achievement and realize that there’s something beautiful that comes from his condition. It boosts self-esteem and self-worth making a patient understand that he is more than just his illness.


  • Art promotes calmness and peace. It makes a person concentrate on one thing, avoiding distractions. It helps in diffusing stress that causes anxiety and depression. It relieves the mind with thoughts that can trigger depressive thoughts.


  • Art promotes positivity. It diminishes frustrating and negative thoughts that can cause a person to feel sicker than he already is. It diverts the attention to good things rather than linger to the negativity of a condition. An ill person can continuously think about pain, missed opportunities, and mortality. Through art, the patient can consider positive thoughts and do worthwhile activities.


“In brief, creativity is increasingly being validated as a potent mind-body approach as well as a cost-effective intervention to address a variety of challenges throughout the lifespan,” says Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC.


Our overall well-being depends on how we see life in general. We are ill when we think we are. Through art, we develop a positive perspective that allows us to embrace life despite medical conditions. It makes us realize how extraordinary we can be even with our limitations.







The Influence Of Color To A Person’s Psychiatry

 One area of psychiatry utilizes the method of understanding the different shades, leading to better understanding and identification of thought processes and emotions manifested by every individual. This is called color psychology.



Color Defines How You Feel And Behave

When you enter a particular room, does the color affect your mood in some unexplainable manner? Does the sight of the shade make you feel relaxed or invigorated? Interior designers and artists have always believed that colors can significantly and dramatically affect a person’s mood and emotions which is why they are very particular with the type of shades that will be used in their craft.


In psychiatry, every color becomes a powerful tool that is utilized to communicate physiological and mental reactions non-verbally. Specific colors are also associated with physiological manifestations like eye strain, metabolism, and fluctuating blood pressure.




 How Color Speaks To Every Individual

Colors, though given specific universal meanings, are often subjective and are open to interpretation. For example, red is seen by others as the color of love, but for some, it’s a color of rage or anger. However, other shades of red evoke certain feelings of warmth, depending entirely on the spectrum the color it is affiliated to, such as red-orange or red-yellow.

Another example is blue which, for some signifies tranquility but for others, it’s the color of indifference or sadness. For licensed psychologist and journalist, Lisa Johnson Mandell, L.P., “Blue is the best color to put on to an interview because it sends out confidence and reliability. Therefore, many working uniforms or business suits are of blue color.”

Also, for Richard Shuster PsyD,  a clinical psychologist, the color blue is helpful in calming our minds. He stated that “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.” Mandell and Shuster’s statements show the differing meanings of colors.

Color perception primarily hinges on how an individual resonates with what they see and how the nostalgia of the hues make their mind react or interact. Aside from the examples provided above, what are the other usual colors that people respond to?


  1. Black – usually associated with mourning or death. Black is a color that represents a foreboding incident or a menacing symbol, and is also indicative of evil in some cases, mostly portrayed in pop culture or the cinemas. Black is commonly known as the opposite of white, which symbolizes negative energy.


  1. White – the opposite of black, which mainly represents positive energy. White is the universal symbol of peace and purity. In psychiatry, white is the preferred color in facilities so as not to provoke irrational feelings from admitted patients. White can also mean cleanliness and freshness. Designers often choose white backdrops to complement any highlight or color, even making the room seem spacious.


  1. Green–commonly associated with nature, green is a fresh color that represents good health, luck, and emotional tranquility. Science has suggested that green has a soothing and relaxing effect to the eyes, which is why when the eyes are strained, looking at something green is a common suggestion. Green is said to help people heal and relieve stress, and designers usually use this color to paint bedrooms and living rooms.


  1. Pink –being linked to femininity, romance, and love, pink, for some people, has a calming effect. Research has indicated that pink tends to have a particular impact on inmates or prisoners but then was soon found out that the soothing results are temporary and the reactions became more of agitation as they were exposed longer. Pink is also the color for qualities like compassion, softness, nurturing, and kindness.A consultant educational psychologist, Ingrid Collins, L.P., said that humans’ energy can be affected by chromatherapy also known as color therapy. She noted: “We are therefore at the most fundamental level made of energy and information, so when we add a particular colour we are adding energy into our lives.” Collins’ observation manifests the importance of color in humans’ everyday lives.


  1. Yellow–the first thing that would come to mind would be the color of the sun. Yellow is a bright color that often depicts warmth and cheerfulness, although due to its bright characteristic, this color can also cause eyestrain. Yellow can influence feelings of anger and frustration for some people. Due to its vibrancy, yellow can quickly capture the eyes, and for this reason, it’s the color used for advertisements or traffic signals.




Color Is Influential

What we see around us affects us differently; color plays a very significant part of what we do and how we feel. Depending on what the shade means to a person, it can convey powerful information, clout people’s decision, and create feelings and moods.



Counseling With Creativity: For Traumatic Wounds That Cannot Heal




There’s something about art therapy that soothes the mind and calms the soul, creating a serene, safe space where people can freely express painful recollections that made significant changes in their lives.


Expression of creativity engages a specific part of the brain that allows processing of traumatic experiences in a different light. Even the most nightmarish incidences are conveyed and tackled without judgment coupled with the panicky, anxious reactions. No wonder counseling services for post-traumatic stress disorder patients have been suggesting art therapy because the method deals with repressed, traumatic memories that people usually have a hard time dealing with, leading to potential recovery and healing.


The Nature Of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a kind of mental health condition that, according to statistics, is a widespread phenomenon which can be experienced by everyone.


“PTSD comes from some type of traumatic event,” explained Colleen Cira, PsyD, a psychologist who specializes in women and trauma. “It can include things like war, car accidents, rape, physical assault, or even verbal and emotional abuse.


Six out of ten men, or about 60% of the US population, have experienced a traumatic episode in their lives mostly due to combat, accidents, injury, death, disaster, and physical assault. On the other hand, five out of 10 women, or 50% of the American population, have experienced trauma that is more likely due to physical and sexual abuse.


The point is PTSD is a common occurrence that can be experienced by all genders at any given age. However, trauma is not a sign that a person is weak; it’s just proof that there are situations and bodily reactions that people cannot control and have to be addressed the soonest possible time before the disorder takes over their lives.


The Healing Effects Of Creativity

Although there are various forms of counseling techniques that can help ease up the nightmares that keep people with PTSD awake at night, art therapy is a highly popular suggestion in the therapeutic field for particular reasons.




Art Breaks Unspeakable Bounds

A usual occurrence for people who have PTSD is inability or hesitancy to discuss the incident verbally, even during sessions with a therapist. Repressing emotions and thoughts are one of the main reasons why this occurs. Expressive arts therapy achieves more output than other treatments when dealing with PTSD patients because here, much transition can be obtained even if words are not spoken. Creativity is the medium that serves as a bridge between the traumatized person and the therapist by allowing restrained emotions to resurface, be explored, and resolved in a non-confronting, comforting manner.


Joshua Smyth, PhD, wrote, “The creative therapies, including art, music, drama, and bodyoriented approaches, are a diverse set of techniques that hold in common that thoughts and feelings about a trauma are represented without verbal descriptions of the event(s). Visual and auditory stimuli are used to symbolize the pain and suffering that result from trauma (such as fear, horror, loneliness, and distrust), and the process of expressing oneself is often more important than the finished product.”


Each technique is carefully selected, depending on the severity of the situation that the person has been through. While people may not hear what the person wants to say, their bottled-up emotions are ingrained in the artwork that they do, which probably provides more insight on what’s going on inside a person than just speaking with a therapist.


Art Explores The Unexplored

“Finding the words to express trauma is a common challenge for trauma survivors. Creative arts therapies can bridge the shattered memory or painful emotion, and a cognitive-linguistic expression of the traumatic experience,” said Marni Rosen, PsyD, a trauma therapist at the Post Traumatic Stress Center (PTSC) in New Haven, Connecticut.

An unconscious mind is a mysterious place; it’s the part of the brain that is usually unexplored but holds in secrets, disturbing events, and painful memories that people lock away. One of the coping mechanisms that the brain does when people have experienced trauma is to send those thoughts and emotions into the unconscious to make life more bearable for those who have PTSD. This occurrence is often manifested by people who claim to have no reminiscence of unpleasant events that happened in the past.




Art therapists believe that counseling my means of creative expression taps into the person’s unconscious memories and thoughts, resurfacing them, so that individuals with PTSD can deal with them, ultimately expunging them from their minds, and being healed in the process.