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What is Art Therapy

What is Art Therapy

What is Art Therapy?

According to the American Art Therapy Association (2022) the definition 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.

Who can see an Art Therapist?

Art Therapy can be used with anyone! Often times traditional therapy or talk therapy either isn't enough or the individual is looking for a different approach to assist them with their mental health needs. Art supplies can be adapted and altered to work with any individual, in any setting, regardless of any mental or physical impairments they may have. As stated by the American Art Therapy Association “we affirm a commitment to inclusivity; we embrace all people and honor each individual’s race; ethnicity; religious or spiritual beliefs; national origin; ancestry; age; abilities; sexual orientation; gender; gender identity; gender expression; socioeconomic, marital, immigration, or military status; political views; and new cultural identities as they emerge”.

But what if I am not creative or an artist?

The main misconception about the field is that individuals seeing an Art Therapist must be very creative and/or good at art making. That is simply not accurate. In art therapy the focus is about the process of being creative and not about the final product.

Meet an Art Therapist Art Therapy Example

Kristy is a Bereavement Counselor at Excela Health who has a passion for art therapy because she believes in the power of witnessing and experiencing the creative process both for ourselves and with others. Our emotions, feelings, and life experiences are complicated and multilayered, we don't always have the words to fully express it all. However when she can see a persons movements during their creative process, see their color choices, see what art materials they want to use, and see what happens as they purge their emotions and feelings into their art, she can “hear”, feel, and understand more of what they are experiencing and trying to convey to her.