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Creating art and mental health

Creating Art and Mental Health- The Benefits of Art Therapy

Many people find creating art enjoyable and relaxing. Utilizing creative expression, the benefits of art-making can go further than just enjoyment and relaxation. Art therapy can be valuable in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, emotional difficulties and to process complex feelings and finding relief.  Art is a great way to express emotions, practice mindfulness, promote self-expression and creativity.

What is art therapy?

Art therapy is an integrative approach of mental health and the creative process that improves clients’ lives by art-making, applied psychological theory, the creative process, and the human experience through a therapeutic relationship. 

The American Art Therapy Association describes using art therapy to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self- awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change. 

Materials and techniques used in art therapy can include drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting, and collage. As clients create art, this can lead to a discussion about what they have made and thoughts and feelings that came out while making the piece. Through the art-making process, you can look for themes and conflicts in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. You do not need any experience in art-making to participate in art therapy. People of all ages can benefit from art making. 

The benefits of Art Therapy

Art therapy is used in addition to traditional therapeutic techniques. The goal of art therapy is to process thoughts and feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, explore self-expression, gain insight and develop coping skills. 

Processing Feelings: A great benefit of art therapy is to have an outlet to express thoughts and feelings. Complex emotions are often difficult to express into words, and the use of art can help process through those difficult emotions. 

Stress Relief: Combating anxiety and depression can be very stressful for you mentally and physically. Creating art can be used to relieve stress and relax the body and mind. 

Self Esteem: The art-making process can give a feeling of self-accomplishment and confidence that can boost your self-appreciation. 

Gaining insight: Creating art can help you recognize thought patterns and process thoughts and feelings that have been within your subconscious. 

Art therapy has many benefits, such as boosting self-esteem, practicing mindfulness techniques and providing you with a safe outlet to relieve emotions, to give a sense of control and to better know and understand yourself. Art therapy is a therapeutic process of self-discovery that will assist you in gaining insights and control over your life. 

Our therapist Rachael Jones is a counselor and art therapist. If you have any questions about art therapy or would like more information please contact Rachael at