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Art Therapy

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy gives therapeutic space for emotional expression in a visual format. Within the therapy session, creative expression is used to support physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Talking can sometimes feel limiting or completely impossible when faced with challenging emotions. Art therapy goes beyond talking, providing a space to safely explore emotions in an alternative fashion. A variety of art media may be used, including paint, colored pencils, markers, collage materials, clay, 3D/sculpture, and fabric.

In an art therapy session, the therapist provides guidance and support during art-making and is a witness to the creative process. Just the process of making art can be therapeutic and healing, giving an opportunity to slow down and be in the present moment. Many find this to be a meditative experience. The art made becomes an extension of the creator: an expression of emotion that is now out of the
body and able to be observed. The therapist then guides the client in viewing the artwork with curiosity and compassion. Clarity and self-discovery may be found in the process of art-making as well as in the images that emerge in the artwork.

“Art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.” – American Art Therapy Association (AATA). 

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