Understanding Art Therapy Treatment

Art therapy focuses mainly on psychotherapy. Art therapy has helped thousands of people.

Learn Art Therapy From Art Therapy Specialists

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Experts estimate that mental illnesses affect one in every three people. Imagine the extent and how widespread these conditions are if its estimation is correct. Incidence of mental illness is at its all-time high, and the increase of these cases is attributed to the use of technology probably, due to lesser stigma about the condition, more and more people are seeking help and openly talking about it.

Claire Henderson, Ph.D., and co-authors, wrote that “Evidence suggests that factors increasing the likelihood of treatment avoidance or delay before presenting for care include (1) lack of knowledge to identify features of mental illnesses, (2) ignorance about how to access treatment, (3) prejudice against people who have a mental illness and (4) expectation of discrimination against people diagnosed with mental illness.”

Innovation and research continue to find a deeper understanding of conditions and procedures; however, according to numerous accounts, people suffering from mental disorders shared that art therapy is a significant factor in their recovery.

Psychotherapy takes many forms. One of which is art therapy Art therapy utilizes artistic mediums and anything related to art to aid people in an exploration of their emotions and thoughts in a different vehicle.

“Art therapy utilizes images and metaphors to understanding yourself,” shares Lara Hanson, LCSW, a verified art expert of Psychology Today. “By tapping into a creative, imaginative side of yourself becomes a new “window” or type of view into yourself that allows you to more effectively solve problems through a different perspective.”

What’s The Rationale Behind Art Therapy Treatment?

The rationale behind art therapy treatment is its utilization of art as a primary means of communication, which can be useful for instances where an individual finds it difficult to verbalize his thoughts and feelings. Using motor skills and physical objects like paper, art materials, and paintbrushes, often foster an atmosphere of connection between artists and the people around them. Other than helping those with mental health issues, art therapy is advantageous to different people including young children, elderlies, and those serving sentences in prison.

How Does This Treatment Function?

Art therapy functions as a three-way process between the client, therapist, and result. Art therapy offers an opportunity for creativity and expression. Its session can either be done in a one-to-one or group class depending on the needs of the client. Since art therapy is highly versatile, it can be carried out in a variety of settings: schools, hospitals, community centers, etc.  Art therapy typically lasts around 1 to 1.5 hours and should be done regularly. During its session, involvement or participation in the activity will solely depend on the individual and if you are in a group session, observing the class is also allowed. As part of art therapy, a counselor may encourage you to display your work in front of everyone. This way, it can help the patient accept his emotions and feel social acceptance when shared with others.

“Art therapy bypasses the left side and stimulates traumatic memory on the right side, as an individual processes their artwork, the speech area of the brain reactivates thereby reintegrating the right and left sides of the brain to promote healthy brain functioning,”  noted Susan Clifton, MSW, LCSW, a facilitator of psychotherapy groups and family and couple sessions and Social Work Director for Dorothea Dix Hospital.

What Are Some Of The Artistic Creativities Connected To This Form Of Treatment?

The versatility of art therapy can curb boredom when using different mediums. In an art therapy session, an individual may do some of the following exercises:


  • Creating a painting from a blank canvas is one of the purest forms of art. It gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. It can be intimidating especially for first-timers, but your art therapist will guide you by providing exercises and prompts. They will also teach basic techniques of painting.
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Art Sculpting

  • Sculpting is creating a figure using clay or other pliable materials. It allows the creation of a concrete structure of something intangible. You can bring to life your emotions and feelings.

Drawing / Illustration

  • Some people feel more comfortable in familiar and straightforward mediums. In a drawing, each material needed is readily available.


  • Utilizing a camera as a tool to see the world from a different perspective, hopefully, gives motivation and venue for self-expression for patients with mental illness.

Therapy Final Thoughts

These are just a few art therapy exercises that an individual can do. Art therapy exercises take place under the guidance of an art therapist, the individual and their specialist will discuss and explore an artwork.