Art Therapy - E Therapy

What is Art and Creative Therapy?

As the title ‘art therapy’ suggests, this form of expressive therapy uses the creative process of art and media to enable a person to explore emotional and relational difficulties. Express art therapy utilises art to improve a person’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

It is worth mentioning that to take part in art therapy you do not need to have any skills or experience in the arts or any other creative media. Meaning that people of any age or background can benefit from expressive art therapy.

What are the Different Types of Expressive Art Therapy?

There are various different types of art and creative therapies available in the UK, in which certified art therapists will have a comprehensive understanding of.

The most common types of art and expressive therapies available are:

Each type of expressive art therapy can be tailored to the individual, and are helpful for those that struggle to put their feelings into words.

Visual Art Therapy

Visual art therapy, or ‘art therapy’ involves using visual art materials to express emotions. Art therapists are able to use expressive art theories alongside clinical techniques to help the individual.

Visual art therapy has proven to be most effective for those that are unable to express their feelings with words, and artists. However, it is not a requirement to have any artistic ability.

Common techniques used in art therapy are:

  • Painting
  • Finger painting
  • Drawing
  • Doodling
  • Scribbling
  • Sculpting
  • Moulding
  • Carving
  • Collage
  • Textiles

Dance Movement Therapy

Dance movement therapy, similar to art therapy, is an expression and involves using body movement and dance. You do not need to have any dance ability or experience to utilise dance movement therapy.

There are various reasons why you may choose to invest time into dance over more traditional methods such as CBT.

Some people find that dance movement therapy helps them to:

  • Uncover and work through issues around their body and appearance
  • Explore difficult or painful experiences and emotions through movement over words

Music Therapy

Music therapy involves an individual using music and sound. As with other expressive art therapies, you do not need to have any experience or skills to take part in this form of creative therapy.

During art therapy you may listen to music or use different instruments to help explore and express emotions.

There is no right or wrong way to express yourself during expressive art therapy, and as such music therapy has been shown to:

  • Enable individuals to express themselves using less traditional means
  • Explore and communicate difficult emotions and experience

Drama Therapy

Drama therapy involves using different types of drama and performance to explore your feelings and discover a more expressive outlet. As with other art and expressive therapies you do not need any experience or skills to get involved.

There are various different techniques available to you during drama therapy, puppets, masks, stories, games and much more.

Drama therapy has shown to be effective at:

  • Exploring and communicating difficult thoughts and feelings in a more creative way
  • Becoming more creative and using your imagination

What Does Art Therapy Help Treat?

Art therapy and other expressive therapies have been shown to benefit people of all ages and those experiencing mental health problems.

While art therapy is successful at diagnosing and helping to treat specific issues, creative art therapy has also been shown to improve overall self-confidence, self-awareness and more.

Art therapy has been shown to help people facing such issues as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Post traumatic stress
  • Eating disorders

This is by no means an exhaustive list, art therapy is able to help individuals facing difficulties, particularly those struggling to remember or express their emotions or experiences.

What are the Benefits of Art Therapy?

This type of therapy is experiential and can enable clients to physically see what motivates their thinking, self-beliefs and behaviour and to challenge these in a creative and expressive way.

This therapy enables the client to articulate openly and honestly about what is causing them pain via the creative medium – talking through not only the emotions and thinking but also why they choose particular colours and media to work with.

The main benefits of choosing art therapy are:

  • It can help people express themselves in a way they wouldn’t feel comfortable using words
  • Explore difficult or painful situations in a more creative and expressive way
  • Feel more comfortable in a therapy setting
  • Look at a situation with a new perspective

The therapist will ask open questions to help the individual to articulate the significance of, say for instance, a painting; and where there are a series of different paintings, they may be able to see how the therapy is helping to shift focus.

It can be suitable for all ages, adults and children alike.

Can You Do Art Therapy Online?

Yes, while art therapy is primarily offline, expressive art therapies can be conducted online.

Art therapy, and online art therapy can be great ways to explore your thoughts and feelings in a creative way. During these sessions you may wish to use your own art supplies such as pencils, paints etc., these can also be used outside of the sessions to be equally as expressive.

How Can I Access Creative Art Therapy?

If you’re looking to access expressive online art therapy for yourself or someone else, you can find a therapist here who will be able to help you. E-Therapy has a range of therapists who specialise in different types of psychotherapy including expressive art therapy.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for more information on art therapy you can explore the BAAT website.