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.