Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well being of individuals of all ages. It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. It is used to assess and treat the anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems and disorders; substance abuse and other addictions; family and relationship issues; abuse and domestic violence; social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness; trauma and loss; physical, cognitive, and neurological problems; and psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness.
The use of art making and metaphor can be an integral part of a therapeutic treatment plan, especially to the many children, adolescents and even adults who are referred for therapy, but often participate reluctantly, if at all. Art therapy offers an opportunity to share thoughts and feelings in a nonthreatening and nonverbal way as a creative form of self-expression, discovery and exploration. One need not have even an ounce of artistic ability, or be able to draw the proverbial straight line to effectively participate in art therapy.
Art Therapy at MBHA
• Art therapy during the assessment allows the therapist to gather additional information, which is helpful in gaining a fuller picture of the patient including their strengths, areas of concern and identifying underlying issues.
• Art making can be a valuable alternative treatment when a patient finds traditional talk therapy too painful or uncomfortable.
• Art therapy is a viable modality for patients who feel stuck in their treatment and/or unable to make changes or become more
self-aware. Patient’s images and metaphors creatively express their worries and can be used as a vehicle to explore these uncomfortable feelings.
• Creating artwork for most people is relaxing and can help patients feel more comfortable sharing their concerns.
Art Therapy as defined by the American Art Therapy Association (www.arttherapy.org)
Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living, and by people who seek personal development. Creating art and reflecting on the art products and processes, people can increase awareness of self and others, cope with symptoms, stress and traumatic experiences, enhance cognitive abilities and enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art.
Art therapists are professionals trained in both art and therapy. They are knowledgeable about human development, psychological theories, clinical practice, spiritual, multicultural and artistic traditions, and the healing potential of art. They use art in treatment, assessment and research, and provide consultations to allied professionals. Art therapists work with people of all ages: individuals, couples, families, groups and communities. They provide services, individually and as part of clinical teams, in settings that include mental health, rehabilitation, medical and forensic institutions; community outreach programs; wellness centers; schools; nursing homes; corporate structures; open studios and independent practices.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Caren Sacks, MA, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Psychotherapist
Metro Behavioral Health Associates
Eating Disorder Treatment Centers
B. 914-723-MBHA (6242) x 318
Contact us for a FREE 30-minute Phone Consultation
Comments or questions are welcome.
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