What is Art Therapy?
Is art therapy simply the creation of an art object or is there more to it than meets the eye? Creativity is part of our DNA. We’ve relied on it for thousands of years and still do, not only for problem solving but also to ensure our survival.
In art therapy, art objects ‘embody thoughts and feelings’ (Case and Dalley, 2006: 137). The art object also ‘acts as a bridge between the inner world and outer reality’ (Case and Dalley, 2006: 137). That which ‘seems inexpressible or unspeakable’ becomes visible ‘through the process of making’ or creating by the patient (Case and Dalley, 2006: 137).
The art objects created become a visual journey that the client has been on. Artists such as Frida Khalo, found painting a therapeutic tool within the confines of her bed. Picasso communicated his feelings through his blue period, etc. When the television presenter Andrew Marr suffered a serious stroke, art therapy became a powerful tool during his recovery. Creative activities have a natural therapeutic effect on mental health and can assist in improving the well-being of individuals. The process of creating an art object becomes all the more powerful when it is applied within Art Psychotherapy.
"Art is not what you see,
but what you make others see."
"If I could say it in words
there would be no reason to paint."
"I found I could say things with
color and shapes that I couldn't say
any other way -
things I had no words for."