The American Art Therapy Association describes art therapy as
"the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences; enhance cognitive abilities; and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art"
The use of art therapy has many cognitive and behavioral benefits for a wide variety of patients from children through the elderly.
Art therapy is used for a number of situations necessitating treatment including:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Stroke Residuals
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Chronic Illnesses
Art therapy is typically used in a very free-style method with patients. Those being treated are guided to make artwork which expresses their feelings and thought process. Painting, sculpting, and drawing are all used by art therapists as mediums to do this therapy. Its use has been shown to reduce stress levels, facilitate healing in ill patients, develop and manage behaviours and feelings in troubled children, and improve self-esteem and awareness.
Because art therapy works with the skills the patient has rather than seeking to develop mastery skills of art techniques, it can be used with anyone. Art therapists are trained in psychological evaluation methods and observation to be able to view the artwork and help patients express themselves. It can be used individually or in a group with any number of participants.
Art therapy is sometimes used as a diagnostic tool with patients to make determinations of cognitive process, IQ, and brain functioning in a non verbal patient. Diagnostic tests used with art therapy include the Diagnostic Drawing Series, the Mandala Assessment Research Instrument, the House-Tree-Person, and Road Drawing.
Within the United States of America, art therapists may become Registered and/or Board Certified. In some particular states, they may also be licensed as a mental health professional, an art therapist, or a creative arts therapist. A general guideline of ethics and behaviour guide the practice of art therapists. In other countries, art therapy is not always regulated or licensed because it is still a newly developing field.
Because art therapy has limitless uses, it is a field with room for a lot of growth. Patients always benefit by learning to new ways to express themselves. Professionals always benefit by understanding their patients further. It can help to improve the lives of everyone involved in physical, emotional, and mental capacities both short term and long term.
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Absolute Product, specialists in art display systems & picture hanging systems for museums and art galleries.