“Sticky finger paints, misshapen mounds of clay, and boxes of multicoloured crayons are often thought of as ingredients for children’s art projects. However, given the emotional and psychological benefits of art-making and creative play, perhaps adults should be reaching for the glitter glue, too” (Spafford). Around the year 2014, a coloring book of all things found its way into most households, claiming it was a great way to relieve stress, and its true. Art in general is one of a couple of great ways to relieve stress and tension.
In order to understand art therapy, it is important to know what art therapy is, what type of people it could benefit, and the effects of going through this type of therapy. Art therapy was first introduced in the 1940’s, as a form of psychotherapy for people who have or had any form of trauma or illness, struggling to deal with the day-to-day living, or if they just want see personal development within themselves (“The History of Art Therapy”). This form of psychotherapy is a combination of counseling and art making, helping you externalize your thoughts and feelings through the idea of self-expression (Spafford). In sessions, the patient focuses on an inner experience, feeling, perception, and imagination through art (Malchiodi). When the patient participates in the art portion, it typically relieves and alleviates any emotional stress and anxiety they may have (Malchiodi), and with children it could make them comfortable enough to talk to their therapist. Sometimes though, if the therapists asks the individual if they want to talk about their art, many times the response is that they don’t want to analyze and interpret the art, possibly showing some history or events the individual is not comfortable sharing yet. Over the years therapists and researchers have found that there are common/recurring doodles, symbols, and even art styles that suggest that there was abuse, trauma, etc.
, among the patients that were willing to share their art.The primary purpose of art therapy is to help individuals heal their mental and emotional scars as much as possible (“The History of Art Therapy”). Over the years, many other people have found it to have a positive impact on themselves as well.