I think what most people are really wondering though is, “Does it work?”
This was also something I wondered for myself as I became an art therapy graduate student. My textbooks informed me that it worked, but did it really?
As I began working with clients in my internships, I began to see how art therapy helped clients in multiple ways. I’m now an Art Therapist with 2000+ hours of experience and I can without a doubt say there are MANY benefits of art therapy. In fact, it is usually the aggregation of these benefits that leads to significant, lasting change for clients.
Here are some of the benefits that I’ve witnessed. Art therapy…
Provides motivation for a client to work on intense or activating topics
Facilitates calm and relaxation
Promotes internal regulation
Allows for a third witness (the art) to be present
Enables a client to see themself or a specific topic with a different perspective
Offers new insight
Enables a client to open up in new ways
Provides a means to process difficult emotions and experiences
Utilizes multiple parts of the brain at once
Facilitates healing in ways that talking alone cannot
Provides experiences of joy and presence
Helps clients accept new ideas
Increase a client’s interest and attention span
Identifies areas of stagnant energy
Locates the source of malaise
Increases self awareness
Helps clients explore and develop new coping strategies
Increases a client’s ability to communicate
Generates self-motivation for daily life
These benefits are often what leads a client to feel that they’ve "gotten better."
Thanks for reading. If you'd like to explore becoming an art therapy client,
you can do so here.