“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle
From painting to writing and to dancing, creative activities make our life fun and interesting. But do you know that art is so powerful and calming that it can be used as a therapeutic tool? Yes, you heard it right.
According to the American Art Therapy Association (2008), art therapy involves creative processes of art making to improve physical, emotional, and mental well-being of people of all ages.
The growing interest in holistic approach to treatment has supported the idea that expressive arts in treatment are effective for overall human health and wellness. As mentioned in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, ‘art therapy supplements the biomedical approach by focusing not only on the symptom and the disorder but the holistic nature of the individual.
SPEAKING OF ART AND HEALING
Art helps us heal.
It forces humans to create a connection between their body and mind. Unlike physical workouts that focuses on your body or meditation which brings clarity to your mind, art access both body and mind to accelerate healing.
When combined with traditional treatment, art therapy can be noteworthy in treating mental issues. It helps in self-discovery as the activities of art allows people to uncover and acknowledge deep buried emotions in the sub-conscious mind. It also uplifts our self-esteem as creating an artistic piece of work instills confidence and appreciation.
WHAT EVIDENCE DO WE HAVE ABOUT THIS RELATIONSHIP?
Drawing, coloring, doodling, or painting has been scientifically proven to help people overcome traumatic situations in life. As individuals create art, they may analyze what they have made and how it makes them feel. Through exploring their art, we can identify themes and conflicts that may be influencing their behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.
A research study ‘The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health’ shows that art enable people to express their experiences that couldn’t be easily put into words, such as the painful treatment of cancer.
SITUATIONS WHERE ART THERAPY CAN BE UTILIZED
- Adults experiencing severe depression and anxiety due to loss of a loved one or a job, failure in relationships, financial hardships, health issues, or any traumatic event.
- Children suffering from social and behavioral problems at home or at school.
- People experiencing brain injury or mental health issues.
In addition to this, there are a range of conditions that can be treated effectively by using art therapy such as aging related issues, eating disorders, emotional difficulties, family problems, substance abuse, psychological issues, and self-esteem issues.
ART THERAPY EXERCISES TO ADD IN YOUR SELF-CARE ROUTINE
Here’s a list of art therapy exercises that everyone should look for.
- Create an art journal
Journals don’t just have to be around words. You can create your own art journal as well. Use this journal to visually express your emotions.
- Go on a nature walk to get inspiration
Incorporating nature into your art practice is a win-win situation. Nature soothes our five senses and provides relaxation. Go for a walk and collect things you find interesting such as stones, pine, leaves, and other objects. Use these objects to create a magazine, sculpture, or an art wall. Now answer this; what drew you to it?
- Create art in the dark
Not being able to see what you are making or having to think about whether it’s not the right can be very relaxing.
- Draw visual image of your good qualities
By making drawings of your positive traits, you’ll feel more optimistic and confident about yourself. This could be your any good habits such as helping older people with their daily chores or feeding birds etc.
- Create a stress painting
In this art exercise, you’ll focus entirely on painting what you’re feeling inside. Pick colors that represent your stress and anxiety.
Doodles are abstract patterns or designs but can also include phallic scenes, cartoons and comic characters.
- Just color
So many times, the simple act of drawing shapes and coloring them is the only relaxation you need. Find a coloring book or create your own favorite characters or shapes and color them.
- Make response art
We all have a song, poem, or quote that we connect with in some way. Choose any one and use it as a foundation to create art. Respond to it through coloring with color pencils or crayons.
Feuerman is an American sculptor and artist living and working in New York. She has been working as a professional artist for more than 50 years. She is a wife, mother and grandmother. She is one of the three founding members of the Hyperrealist movement, and the only woman sculptor to work in this genre. She founded The Carole A. Feuerman Sculpture Foundation in 2011 to generate interest and passion for the arts and inspire and award deserving underrepresented artists with exhibition opportunities, internships, and grants.