Art therapy offers scientifically measurable mental and physical health benefits. In the study, Effectiveness of Art Therapy With Adult Clients in 2018, researchers reviewed 27 studies over two decades and found that art therapy improves quality of life for people of various backgrounds, including cancer patients, prison inmates, and the elderly.
Individuals experiencing stress and anxiety in their personal and professional lives can find relief through art therapy. In 2008, researchers found that art therapy helped healthcare employees cope with anxiety and on-the-job burnout by decreasing levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. Furthermore, a 2011 study showed that women undergoing fertility treatment soothed their anxiety through art therapy.
Improved Communication Skills
Drawing, painting, sculpting, and other media used in art therapy can help people overcome verbal communication barriers. People who cannot express themselves in words may find a creative outlet to express themselves visually through art therapy. Consequently, their overall mental health may improve. The study, Therapeutic Qualities of Clay-work in Art Therapy and Psychotherapy: A Review, found that pottery work helped improve verbal communication for participants.
Greater Self Awareness
Art therapy techniques enable people to deal with unresolved emotions, grief, addiction, and depression. People can process their emotions and gain self-awareness by creating art. Art therapists have successfully used mindfulness healing arts for patients with cancer, poetry for physicians in palliative care, and creative movement in art therapy to promote self-awareness.
Survivors of trauma of all ages also benefit from art therapy. They can find healing through trauma-based art therapy that gives them access to their feelings in a way that talking does not. Through writing and drawing, individuals coping with post-traumatic stress syndrome can work through traumatic events and process their emotions. The act of creating art allows patients recovering from trauma to measurably decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Regulating Behaviors and Emotions
Art therapists use creative projects to help children and adolescents with psychological challenges access suppressed experiences and manage their emotions. Young people may not have the ability to express their feelings in words. However, painting can allow them to communicate in a healthy and effective way. They can also learn coping skills and how to self-regulate their emotions through art therapy.
Improved Self Esteem
Patients can boost their self-esteem through art therapy exercises. These exercises help them process their feelings, improve their communication skills, and deal with trauma. Creating a beautiful painting, collage, drawing, or sculpture in art therapy can improve a person’s sense of self-worth. Art therapy can also renew social connections and increase a person’s sense of purpose. Gaining self-esteem provides patients recovering from trauma with the ability to heal.
Better Coping Skills
Art therapy helps children and adults handle the stress of everyday life. Clients create paintings, write poems and songs, play an instrument, and dance during art therapy sessions. These activities allow patients to express their sadness or anger in a creative way. Patients experiencing grief after the death of a loved one can also benefit from these exercises.Art Therapy Program Overview