Art Therapy In Counseling: Helping People Heal




Utilizing artistic techniques to manage psychological conditions and improve mental health is called art therapy. This type of treatment has arisen from the concept that creative expression can promote wellness and healing.

Art, both seen or created, is utilized to assist individuals in learning how to unravel their feelings, coping with their anxieties, increase self-esteem, and foster self-awareness.

You may be alarmed when you learn that art can potentially be a powerful tool in counseling and other mental health treatments. How could art possibly benefit psychotherapy? As a medium for expression, art could help individuals manage stress, communicate effectively, and discover various areas of their personalities.

Art Therapy Defined

Art therapy incorporates techniques used in psychotherapy with the ingenious process of enhancing well-being and mental health. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is a method in mental health that uses the process of making art to enhance one’s physical, emotional, and mental wellness.

Art therapy aims to use this creative process to enable people to express themselves and eventually discover new means to acquire personal insight and learn new coping strategies.

Methods used in this specific therapy involve painting, sculpting, drawing, or coloring, among others. As patients or clients make art, they may evaluate what they have created and how it affects them positively. By scrutinizing their art, individuals can find themes and disconnections that may impact their feelings, attitudes, and opinions.

We do not essentially have to possess artistic abilities or special skills to join art therapy, and everyone, even children and adults alike, can take advantage of its uses. Some reports suggest that by creating art, an individual can heal and recover.

Art Therapy History

We have often relied on various art forms when we communicate and heal for hundreds of years. However, art therapy did not emerge and progress into a legit problem up until 1940.

Physicians observed that people who have mental conditions frequently conveyed their feelings through drawings and other art forms. This led many more to discover the role of art as a tool in therapy or counseling. Since then, it has developed into a vital aspect of therapy and is utilized in several evaluation and treatment strategies.

Art Therapy Uses


Art therapy can be utilized to manage an array of mental health disorders, including psychological conditions. In many situations, it has been used along with other therapeutic techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and group counseling sessions.

In some instances, art therapy can also be used in:

  • Kids who have social or behavioral issues in school or at home
  • Adults who are suffering from extreme stress
  • Adults and children who have gone through traumatic experiences
  • Kids suffering from learning abnormalities
  • Adults and children with mental health disorders
  • Adults and children with past and current brain injuries.

Some issues that art therapy may also be beneficial for include:

  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Medical problems
  • Family conflicts
  • Emotional problems
  • PTSD
  • Substance use
  • Stress
  • Psychosocial problems


Research claims that art therapy can also be helpful, but some outcomes on their efficiency are varied, although studies performed have often been inconclusive and small. Hence, more research is required to examine when and how art therapy produces the most benefits.

How Art Therapy Works

The art therapist may utilize various art techniques, including painting, drawing, collage, and sculpting, with clients extending from young kids to seniors. Those who have gone through domestic abuse, depression, anxiety, physical violence, trauma, and other mental health problems can tremendously benefit from artistically expressing themselves.

Private mental health facilities, inpatient clinics, community centers are all potential environments that are accessible for art therapy services. Certain settings where this type of therapy can be done include:

  • Universities and colleges
  • Hospitals
  • Art studios
  • Community centers
  • Private clinics
  • Wellness centers
  • Facilities for seniors
  • Women’s centers
  • Group shelters
  • Homeless shelters

People frequently ask how art therapy or counseling sessions vary from the usual art classes. While art therapy sessions are centered on teaching strategies or forming a particular finished project, art therapy is more inclined to allow clients to concentrate on their internal experiences.

In producing art, determined individuals have claimed that they could focus on their personal feelings, views, and imaginations. They are encouraged to do art that opens up their world from within – much more than creating something that expresses their outer world.


Becoming An Art Therapist

If you wish to become a therapist for the arts, begin by assessing your mental and emotional state to know more about the required training, credentials, and education necessary to practice it. In a lot of circumstances, you might initially need to become a qualified clinical psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor so that you can provide therapy or counseling services.

In America, the Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. provides credentialing programs that enable art therapists to be board-certified, registered, or licensed art therapists, but this is dependent on the status of their careers or their way of living.

Additionally, the American Art Therapy Association, there are two minor requirements. You have to have an art therapy master’s degree, or you’ll need to complete a master’s degree in counseling plus additional courses in art therapy as well.

Art therapy is classified under the group known as recreational therapy. This also includes professionals who use sports, performance, and other leisure and amusement activities to promote mental wellness.