Art Therapy

What is Art Therapy?

  • Art Therapy – The beginning
  • Art Therapy – Who is it for?
  • Art Therapy – Only for artists and creative types?
  • Art Therapy from the clients’ perspective
  • Sarah Raskey – A few words

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. Through 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.
The American Art Therapy Association, Inc. (AATA) sets educational, professional, and ethical standards for its members. The Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc. (ATCB), an independent organization, grants credentials. Registration (ATR) is granted upon completion of graduate education and post-graduate supervised experience.

How Did Art Therapy Begin?

Visual expression has been used for healing throughout history, but art therapy did not emerge as a distinct profession until the 1940s. In the early 20th century, psychiatrists became interested in the artwork created by their patients with mental illness. At around the same time, educators were discovering that children’s art expressions reflected developmental, emotional, and cognitive growth.

By m i d – c e n t u r y , hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers increasingly began to include art therapy programs along with traditional “talk therapies,” underscoring the recognition that the creative process of art making enhanced recovery, health, and wellness. As a result, the profession of art therapy grew into an effective and important method of psychotherapy and treatment with children, adolescents, adults, families and groups in a variety of settings.

Who is Art Therapy for?

It’s for people…

  • who are generally stressed and overworked with mental health and/or physical health problems
  • who are experiencing creative blocks or in need of inspiration
  • who would benefit from self exploration
  • who are struggling with addictions
  • in relationships and families who need help communicating with each other

What skills do you need for Art Therapy?

The simple answer is none. Art therapy requires no artistic ability. The Art Therapist offers guidance and support and the opportunity to explore issues of concern using a variety of art materials.

Some clients views on Art Therapy…

It’s not about being an artist, it’s about using visual symbols to explore feeling and emotions…’s about seeing feelings, making them visible to yourself”.
“There’s a beauty that is free to grow, an expression that can be extended, a space that is fun, safe and good to be in, that’s art therapy”.

“It is the process that is important, not the product”.

“I’m interested to see how my mind works – that part of my mind I’m not conscious of.”

Sarah Raskey on Art Therapy…

“Art therapy is a most effective method as it addresses the body, mind, and spirit. Art can be instrumental in promoting new ways to creatively gain insight, heal, face the unknown, and rediscover who we are and how we spend our time here.

Art has the potential to change lives in profound ways based on the belief that when words are not enough, we can turn to images, symbols, and other artistic means to more fully express ourselves in uncensored ways, leading to self actualization.

In telling our stories through art making, we find a direct path to emotional recovery, and ultimately transformation. Over time we are better able to identify a deep sense of purpose, and develop meaningful connections with those around us.” — Sarah Raskey LCPC ATR