Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings – Agnes Martin
Art Therapy has been considered an essential part of the therapeutic process and expression since the mid 20th century. Doctors frequently used Art Therapy to help patients express themselves, share symptoms and cope with pain. Not only did patients find lines, shapes and colors could better communicate what was previously a challenge for doctors to understand, Art Therapy also relived stress making patients easier to treat and resulting in better overall health outcomes.
We have long understood that allowing ourselves to dive into our emotions, and healthily expressing them is a big step towards healing. We know understand through research and decades of using Art Therapy in both in-patient and out-patient settings that art can build valuable bridges between the mind and the body. Art taps into both a physical as well as the emotional process of creation; as the client works with the therapist inner conflict is addressed and resolved, stress is reduced and self-awareness and compassion is built.
Art is coming face to face with yourself –Jackson Pollock
Art Therapy gives people the opportunity to see the emotions they are feeling in a way they may never have before. Art provides a new way of expressing emotions non-verbally, which for some often feels safer and less overwhelming. Art may also be the only way to express deep and painful wounds when words come up short. The creative process can take what is hard to communicate and turn it into something more manageable to share. It is through this sharing process, with a trained Art Therapist, that healing can then take place.
Art Therapy Heals Trauma
Art Therapy is especially helpful in making sense of life challenges and traumatic events. Through research we now have a better understanding of the way the brain stores traumatic experiences, which has led to more effective ways of treating clients living with trauma. Art Therapy is a key component of this treatment as we know understand that traumatic experiences are primarily stored in the visual parts of our brain. Using art therapy to directly access these visual areas where the trauma is stored allows clients to more effectively and quickly work through trauma rather than remaining “stuck” in it.
Art Therapy is For Everyone
People of all ages, lifestyles, and creativity levels can experience the benefits of using Art Therapy. Art Therapists work with children, teens and adults, as well as families and couples. At Sage House Counseling & Art Therapy our Registered, Board- Certified Art Therapists most frequently work with clients who are struggling with trauma, relationship issues, life changes, depression, anxiety, ADD, stress management, loss and grief. We have also found Art Therapy to be particularly helpful for pregnant and postpartum women and their partners struggling with mood disorders and other perinatal mental health concerns.
Art Connects Us All
There are two distinct languages. There is the verbal, which separates people… and there is the visual that is understood by everybody – Yaacov Agam
Art Therapy allows for the internal to be shared with another. For clients, the ability to share with an Art Therapist their fears, dreams and experiences can be liberating as well as challenging. Using the creative process allows for greater connection and understanding between therapist and client.
The beauty of Art Therapy is that you can utilize this tool during therapy sessions and at home. We recommend being under the care of a board certified, registered Art Therapist while engaging in Art Therapy who can guide the process and provide appropriate art materials to achieve therapy goals and positive outcomes. Many clients choose to create treatment plans with their Art Therapist that involve art making both in and out of the therapy session, allowing for greater growth in a shorter amount of time. The creation of art work also provides a visual record of the path towards healing as clients can look back at the earlier work created in therapy. Artwork has the power to hold our thoughts and feelings in time, giving us a map of change, understanding and healing.
A New Path to Healing
A simple line painted with the brush can lead to freedom and happiness – Joan Miro
Many forms of creativity and artwork can be used in art therapy. Drawing, sculpting, painting and collage are just a few examples of the creative tools your art therapist may utilize with you. Often clients worry they have to be artistic to use art therapy, but that is not the case. Anyone who is open to the process of art making and willing to give it a try is the perfect candidate for art therapy and can benefit from it.
Mental wellbeing allows us to live full lives and finding support is the first step. If you are experiencing emotional challenges in your life and are interested in learning more about how art therapy can help you or a loved one please reach out to us! Sage House Art therapy, located in Reston VA, is available to help individuals, families, children, adolescents and women. Specializing in trauma, depression, anxiety, ADD, life transitions, pregnancy, postpartum, fertility challenges, and grief and loss.