How art helps our mental health?

Your health can benefit greatly from art, which can also increase general happiness and mental wellness. San Diegans have the ideal justification to spend a day doing something enjoyable while enhancing the health and quality of life for you and your loved ones: visiting one of our local art museums, or enrolling in a painting or ceramics class.

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Pablo Picasso

What is Art Therapy?

Being a great artist or creating excellent pieces of art is not the goal of art therapy. It's about recognizing and acknowledging sentiments that you might not have been able to express via the process of making art. A licensed therapist often supervises art therapy sessions.

Why Art Therapy?

Why art, though? Drawing, painting, sculpting, collage-making, and other activities might assist people who struggle to express their sentiments verbally by allowing them to express their feelings in a tangible way. They are able to communicate some of what they are going through with those around them as a result. Similar to other types of therapy, art is also a better, healthier approach than bad decisions to put stress and other unpleasant emotions into action.

Making art has been shown to activate reward pathways in the brain, lessen stress and anxiety levels, and boost mood. Several studies have also looked at its advantages for particular demographics, including: For instance, it has been associated with lower levels of anxiety, PTSD, and dissociation in children who were the victims of sexual abuse as well as reduced depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in Syrian refugee children. Pain levels can be lowered and patients' sense of control over their life can be enhanced through art therapy.

In both children and adults, art fosters creativity and creative thinking. It also improves one's ability to solve problems. People are urged to come up with their own solution because there is no wrong answer in the world of art. Similar to how learning a new language does, flexible thinking stimulates your brain and gets it ready for difficult tasks.

Both adults and children gain self-confidence and a sense of success when they create art. Dopamine may be released when you finish a creative endeavor, which can raise motivation, sharpen focus, and overall make you feel wonderful!

History of Art Therapy

Making art has been used as a kind of mental health therapy since the middle of the 20th century, when World War II soldiers suffering from "shell shock", now known as "post-traumatic stress disorder" were diagnosed after returning from the front lines. Veterans created paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other works of art to help them absorb what they had seen and experienced during the conflict. Girija Kaimal, an art therapist at Drexel University and the leader of the American Art Therapy Association, claims that "they battled with conventional kinds of medical and therapeutically intervention" (AATA).

Treatments that can assist and link patients with nonverbal expression are truly the cornerstone of the creative arts therapies since experiences like trauma are very difficult to put into words.

The Art Therapy Now

Since then, the practice has become more prevalent. There are currently more than 5,000 art therapists working both domestically and abroad. They assist patients in a variety of ways by using the therapy. In order to cope with social and emotional challenges, behavioral disorders, ADHD, low self-esteem, and other problems, art therapists have worked with children in schools. Adults who have gone through trauma of some form have also tried it. Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, adolescents struggling with mental health concerns, veterans, elderly people, people with eating disorders, convicts, and many more groups with physical and mental health difficulties have all benefited from the use of art therapy.

The therapy itself can take many different forms, from unstructured doodling to more precise suggestions and exercises meant to help patients make sense of their feelings. Therapists provide treatment in groups or one-on-one settings. Therapists may need to utilize creative methods to engage patients who are first reluctant to participate, frequently because they don't see themselves as artists or haven't created art in years.

Therapy Process

In addition to providing a respite from screen time, creating art is a hands-on process that demands complete concentration. "In art therapy, mindfulness is what allows an individual to receive the therapeutic benefit of 'tuning out' the daily stress and anxiety and to focus on a single task while also focusing on the materials employed for self-expression," wrote Mallory Braus and Brenda Morton in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy in 2020.

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