What is Art Therapy
Art therapy is another therapeutic modality used at The Fullbrook Center to help those struggling with trauma and addiction. The goal of this therapy is to foster awareness, healing and mental well-being through creative expression. Many of those who have experienced emotional trauma, physical violence, domestic abuse, anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues have found this method of therapy to reveal underlying feelings they weren’t able to verbally communicate.
According to the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, less than an hour of creative activity can reduce your stress and have a positive effect on your mental health. Reports have also shown that art therapy fosters self-expression, resulting in the development of new coping skills that will better guide clients during recovery. Although it may seem like clients are simply creating art, this is not the case. In fact, art therapy aids in exploring emotions, developing self-awareness, creating healthier coping mechanisms, boosting self-esteem, and evolving social skills. With this tool, our therapists are able to identify themes and conflicts that are affecting their clients thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Oftentimes, clients believe they need some form of art skills to participate in our artistic exercises. However, having art skills is not a requirement for art therapy. The artistic exploration is just a way to add fun into therapy.
Another misconception that is commonly discussed is that a single art class can offer the same benefits as art therapy. Again, this is not the case. The primary focus of an art class is on the teaching of technique or creating a finished product, whereas art therapy focuses on encouraging clients to create art that engages with their inner being rather than their outer.
Here are a few art therapy activities we like to do at The Fullbrook Center :
- Create vision boards and or/ collages. This tool consists of images or drawings surrounding anything from your hopes and dreams to hardships or moments of pain.
- Create a mandala. Mandala’s are meditative symbols that can easily help loosen up tense individuals.
- Draw or paint emotions. In this exercise, we focus on allowing our clients to paint whatever they’re feeling and/or have been holding onto.
- Sculpting. This activity can be used to create an image of oneself or a loved one and reflect on the person that was created.
Overall, the main focus of art therapy at The Fullbrook Center is to gain insight, create expression through “feeling” rather than thinking, and to have fun!