Benefits of Art Therapy

While therapy and psychotherapy in general have many benefits, the concept of art therapy has proven to be successful in various ways that differ from traditional therapy practice. There are various uses for art therapy with regards to healing, but the benefits may surprise you if you’ve never heard of art as a form of therapy.

Who Benefits from Art Therapy?

Art therapy sets itself apart as a means of therapy by utilizing the creative process of art and having a low barrier to entry (anyone can be creative in some form or another). Art therapy can be especially beneficial to children as younger people are usually less capable and less comfortable expressing themselves via words.

While art therapy can benefit children greatly, it can also be very helpful to adults. Really, anyone can benefit from art therapy. Even if you’re using creative arts as a means of expression without the aid of an art therapist, there are still many benefits to be had. Read about some of these art therapy ideas and activities if you need some help getting started.

Art Therapy Benefits For The Average Person

By expressing yourself through art, an art therapist can help you see things about yourself that you otherwise may not have comprehended. Art therapists can help you process emotions and feelings that you are struggling with, so you can begin healing. Since art therapists are trained in the arts and, obviously, in therapy, they are capable of guiding you through the process of creative expression. They are also quite capable of providing insight into your creations and helping you understand certain aspects of yourself that maybe you didn’t know existed, whether good or bad.

It is this idea of self-exploration that can often lead a person to some insightful conclusions about themselves. Don’t be surprised if the effects of art therapy lead to a general sense of relief and overall better mental health. Again, it’s therapy, but with a completely different ingredient than most people are used to, art.

It’s important to note that you don’t need an art therapist to reap the benefits of art therapy. If you go into art as therapy and learn about the basic concepts and ideas that it represents, then you can learn a lot about yourself through your own isolated creative expression. It’s something you can do on your own to just relieve stress, discover yourself in new ways, etc. It’s also something you can do with other people. It’s truly a beautiful thing when you’re sharing art in an open, friendly, loving environment with other people that are on the same wave.

Art Therapy Benefits For People With More Serious Disorders

Without going into the details of all the possibilities, let’s just say that art therapy can benefit a wide-spectrum of disorders, diseases, and disabilities.

Art therapy can help improve various mental and pysical symptoms including, but not limited to, reducing pain, anxiety, and tension. It can be beneficial to those who have mental disorders, severe or light emotional abuse, cancer, post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), people who are bipolar, and a variety of other serious ailments.

Benefits Of Art Therapy – In Conclusion

Art therapy can also help people with their social skills. The benefits of art therapy in these types of situations can help with people that are withdrawn or shy, or who, for some reason or another, have a difficult time functioning within social situations.

Basically, the benefits of art therapy can be quite broad. It can improve lives by helping people improve their mental, emotional, and even physical states. It can raise the quality of life for many people, and it’s worth considering if it can aid you in some way or another.

Again, maybe it’s just the act of executing creative expression on your own or with others, or maybe it’s seeking professional help with a certified art therapist. Either way, the benefits of art therapy make it worth exploring as a catalyst for healing.

Comments

  1. says

    It’s great to read a blog about art therapy that covers it’s complexity so eloquently. I can’t help but question the suggestion that art therapy can be learnt and done at home on your own minus the therapist. I believe a significant portion of the therapy in art therapy is the supportive, witnessing and therapeutic safety net that the presence of a qualified art therapist provides. I agree that art work created away from the art therapy environment can be a stress reliever but argue it’s not therapy; just art.
    I hate to relate a negative to a blog that does a great service in ambassadorship to art therapy and I hope I cause no offence. I look forward to reading your continued updates, Yours Fiona

  2. admin says

    Fiona, thanks for stopping by, commenting, and the nice words about the site. I don’t think your comments are offensive in any way. You bring up an excellent point, and one that I struggle with on this site…where does art end and therapy begin?

    I believe it is a valid point that is worth exploring in greater detail. I will address this in greater detail with my next post as this is a topic that deserves more than a comment…

    Thanks Fiona!

  3. Danielle says

    Hi I’m a sphm at Park University studying Art Therapy, right now I’m a Psychology Major and a fine arts minor. Upon graduation and going into grad school for a more focused degree, where should I begin to look to find a job in this field?

  4. admin says

    Hi Danielle,
    I’d check with your University’s career center, art therapy professors, and/or your advisor if you have one. They can sometimes be very good resources, especially if you would like to work in that city. Even if you don’t want to work in that city, they might have a connection or know of someone who does that can help you get your foot in the door. Besides the connection/networking aspect, it will also show your professors that you have ambition and are really thinking about the future. You may also be able to volunteer or do work-study (if you’re eligible) for one of the appropriate departments. Again, I’d begin my search with the resources around you.

    Also, If you’re at all interested, I’m open to having volunteer writers for this site. If you’re interested, reply to this comment and I will contact you with more details. Good Luck Danielle, and let me know how it goes!

  5. Jean Harder says

    Hello,
    I just graduated with a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy and am working at a small counseling center. The work I am doing has been so gratifying. I can see the difference creative expression has on each client I have the honor to work with.

    If you ever ant me to share any of my experiences I would gladly do that. I also am in the process of creating a web site to promote Art Therapy in my area as well. Any helpful hints you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    I did my research with adolescents last fall. They would be eager to share their art work and insights as well.

    Thanks, Jean

  6. admin says

    Jean, congratulations on getting your Master’s Degree! I’d love to hear more about your experiences and will be in contact with you shortly. Thanks Jean!

  7. says

    I’m an artist and I LOVE art, it’s my passion! For a while now, I’ve been interested in Art Therapy and would love to explore it further. While I would love to teach art, I’m finding the opportunities in my area, Sacramento CA, to be quite small and competitive. However, I feel that Art Therapy would have a wider audience in which more people could benefit. It has certainly helped my son as well as myself. How does one go about getting trained to be an art therapist?

  8. admin says

    @Sean, I’d look for schools in your area that offer art therapy as a graduate or undergraduate degree, depending on what you want. I plan on exploring training, certification, credentials, schools, jobs etc. more on the site, so stay tuned!

  9. SP says

    I have written a book called “Creative Expressions: Say it with Art” to promote art education and art therapy in India. I need a help in promoting this book.

  10. aurora Cacciapuoti says

    Hallo, I wold to know what’s the best school/institute of AT and expressive psychotherapy, thanks!

  11. Narelle says

    I studied a psychotherapy diploma in which we completed a few units on art therapy! unfortunatly I did’nt complete the diploma but hope to one day, but it was very healing for my own issues.This year I joined an art class to learn some techniques and found the pictures I am painting deeply healing.
    Your site is fantastic and has encouraged me to look at how I can become a therapist and help ohters like myself..

    blessings

  12. admin says

    @Narelle: Thanks for the wonderful comments…and we’re happy to hear that art therapy has helped you heal!

  13. Jana says

    Hi, and thanks for your website:

    I am an artist from way back with a BFA in painting, though I no longer do any art making. I long for it, and have a great studio for it, but feel blocked, unworthy, and untalented. I have way too much expectation surrounding the outcome.

    I obviously have issues which art therapy could help; I have been in various types of psychotherapy for years but never art therapy. None of what I’ve tried has helped me at all.

    I have read several art therapy books, though not yours (yet!) None have helped me with this block, and the greater issue of low self-esteem. Can you please explain how art therapy helps people? In my own work I’ve never truly felt I was translating emotion into imagery, it’s a big gulf of an unknown to me how this works and/or how it helps.

    I’m sorry if this is too long or personal, I just am so curious and looking for help.

    Thanks so much,
    J

  14. Jacee says

    Hello,

    I’ve stumbled upon your wonderful site while doing research for a presentation that I have been putting together for a few months now. I am presenting a slideshow of works of art done during art therapy sessions and information about art therapy and its benefits to individuals that partake in it. However, I have been searching painstakingly with no luck for some sort of graph or chart that shows exactly how many indivudals have actually benefitted from art therapy, or at least any sort of list of percentages of of people that felt a positive impact on their lives due to art therapy.

    Do you know of any sites that would be able to supply this information?

    I really want to prove to my audience that there is hard evidence that art therapy really does work!

    Thank you!

    Jacee

  15. Daniella Martina Santos says

    woww! i am so happy i found this site its great. i am doing my senior project on art therapy and it is such a broad topic im not really sure where to start my 10 page essay! there is really not that much info about it out there (such as statistics or a graph etc.) and im interviewing people and taking classes but if anyone can point me in a direction to focus my essay on that would help a lot:)

  16. Katherine says

    i think art therapy is a great idea. especially for people with a creative mind and who like to express their emotions in art but dont seem to realize it. I tend to do that alot myself

  17. deborah says

    Why is art therapy better than traditional therapies (Pharmacological, Cognitive behavioral and EMDR)
    If I’m Looking into a therapy for past issue why Art therapy over traditional.

  18. Ayesha says

    Hi, I would like to know if there is a short course i can take to teach art therapy for kids in Bombay, India. I have graduated from the J.J. Institute of Applied Art (Mumbai) and would like to learn Art Therapy.

  19. Joel says

    Hello. I am currently doing a project on art, and would like to know if there is any cold, hard, conclusive evidence that proves the benefits of art and art therapy. I have so far failed to find much, and I am aware that so far art therapy lacks solid backing. Could you please help me locate some of this evidence? I am really in need of help.

  20. says

    Psychotherapy Counselling is the relationship between a client and a trained professional like psychologist that focuses on the client’s concerns and difficulties. Counselling help the individuals in improving the understanding of themselves, including their thought patterns, behaviours, feelings and the problems they are facing in their lives.

    Thanks&Regards
    ksh-usa

  21. Daniel Israel says

    Hi,am a Bachelor of FINE ARTS graduate from AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSTY in my country Nigeria.I know Art is therapeutic,and really helps in the healing process but,most hospitals and medical centers do not know this.I intend enlightening,and bringing art works to adorn hospital wards and its surroundings to help patients heal fast.How do I go about this? if possible,can get your help? Thanks. Daniel,NIGERIA.

  22. says

    Thank you for this beautiful website. I am currently working assisted living residences using weaving and art therapy, with wonderful results. I am working directly with the art therapist on site and find that this connectivity is valuable. As I read through the blogs, I noticed in the one from Danielle, dated June 2, 2008, that you would be interested in volunteers writing for the site. I’d love to explore this more with you.

  23. Helen Caird says

    This is a really great website to come across as I have been contemplating on doing an art therapy course for quite some time now. As it happens, I’m completing an art and design course with painting as my speciality and this seems like the perfect follow-on! Sadly my father has recently developed dementia and I have seen how distressing it can be on not only him, but also my mother who has to care for him. I would be very interested in working with older people, therefore I believe art therapy would be a wonderful way of giving them the opportunity for self-expression.

  24. says

    Hi,

    I stumbled on this wonderful website by accident. I run a website for child abuse survivors in recovery, and am intrigued by the potential helpfulness of art therapy, especially with respect to disorders like PTSD. I’d love to do an email interview with you on this subject if you’re able.

  25. says

    I just started implementing some art therapy techniques into my sessions, and have found them to be very helpful particularly with grief and loss. This website is a great resource.

  26. Louise Pearson says

    Hi, I am currently studying my foundation degree in art and design as a mature student. I have always been aware of the benefits I have felt myself using my art as a form of escape, now I am also interested in studying this further and making a career out of art therapy. I am currently trying to create a package as part of my course that I could take around schools to help with Children who find it difficult being in school and have disruptive behaviour for one reason or another.If you know of any statistics I could refer to, to show that Art Therapy is actually a successful resourse that would be great. Also I have a meeting organised with a therapeutic arts worker coming up soon, is this simply a difference in title or are there some major differences?

  27. Andrea says

    Hi, I’m currently a freshman in college and I’m passionate about pursuing art therapy. I was wondering if there is any specific type of bachelor’s degree required or necessary to be accepted into a Master’s degree program towards art therapy. I was a psychology major but now I am a Spanish major. Does a specific type of bachelor’s degree matter?

  28. Rachel Nicholson says

    Hello,
    I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog! I graduated from high school a year early to get a jump start in college. I am currently a fine art major with a psychology minor. Though, next year I want to transfer to NYU to continue my education. Eventually I plan to get a Master’s in art therapy. I love art therapy… It helped save my life. I myself suffer from PTSD and major depression due to some unfortunate incidences in my life. Art therapy has helped me heal so much I am adament about persuing a career in it and having my own practice someday to help victims of sexual abuse.

    I am very young, but have experienced lots of life tribulations starting early (age 12). My biggest advice to anyone out there who is struggling is to find a positive healing outlet (mine is art therapy) and run with it. Don’t feel stuck, because life gets easier in time. Time heals all.

    Thank you for sharing the blog:)
    Take care, Rachel.

  29. Admin says

    Hi Rachel, Thanks for the wonderful comments about the site and for sharing some of your story and advice for others!

  30. Kathy Masone says

    I am curious as to whether you are an art therapist yourself, your name and credentials don’t seem to be listed anywhere.
    There has been a lot of discussion among art therapist as to the purpose of your blog. It seems to me that you want to educate and inform, if that be true is there a way to communicate with you via email?
    Thanks,

  31. Rhea says

    Just wanna say thank you for this article. It helped me answer my research paper on how can art help the learning and development of social skills for mentally challenge individual.

  32. Cynthia Bachman says

    Hello!
    I was searching for all the info I can find regarding ar therapy. My background is in teaching K-8 Art for many years, also working with children with special needs for years and now I am pursuing my M.A.C., and doing work in a school with autistic children.
    Having said all that, I am very interested in getting some specialized certification in addition to my LMHP as an Art therapist. I live in an University city but I am not aware of any art therapists here, (nothing found online ) nor any classes for such nearby.
    After speaking to my advisors at the college I am attending now, art therapy is not something they have much advice in which they can help me.
    So, I am asking you,,what do I need to do after I graduate with my Master’s in Counseling,,do you have to be licensed to use art as part of the therapy sessions with my backgound teaching and in using the materials and having the Masters in Counseling.
    Thank you for your help!
    Cynthia

  33. Heather says

    I have deeply considered all of these concerns. I graudated Dec2007 with Art major & PSY minor. I maitained very interested in pursuing a Masters in ArtTherapy…leading up to graduation. Although my advisors failed to mention that this feild may be a harder journey to follow. Considering it fairly new feild of study, unknown, not covered under insurance(not that I know of)and not being widely used in healthcare facilities. Than made it very difficult to have ambition towards another degree that may not as financially rewarding. My peers and family have expressed their concerns and doubts, all my evidence or research hasn’t backed up that this could be a prominent career plan. I have had some opportunity in related work doin a Children’s Therapuetic Summer camp in Maryland which was very self-rewarding but because of budget and relocation it wasnt something I could continue on. That program did accept Mecaid or state insurance as form of payment for children to attend. Not sure how I even goin about doing that but I know I have to have credability to back it up. I feel that there aren’t enough jobs or career options for me without a Masters and swiching career paths. I have strongly considered becoming a Nutrional Consultant, then a Holistic Health Practioner through online but my fears are stopping me from moving forward. I do feel that this is the big healthcare movement. How do I get in the market with low demand??? Any advice would be great!

  34. says

    i have tried and experienced what Art Therapy is and have come out of my stress and strains so smoothly enjoying the music,dance and art that was already in me,but was suppressed after marriage due to stupid reasons.there are hundreds of members who have benefitted from my sessions and am happy to tell you we are seriously into this(art,music & dance) being a social necessity, concentrating on “students & moms”.

  35. AANCHAL says

    hi,, i have heard and read about art therapy but i am unable to find any institute or university here in india ( mumbai) from where i can study art therapy.
    can you pls guide me through.
    thankyou

  36. says

    What a great, informative site! Art therapy seems to bypass many of the blocks and restrictions that keep people from living full and healthy lives. I was pleased to find such useful information!

  37. Sara Sáenz says

    La Terapia de arte beneficia a los ninos, si, cuando dibujan sacan al exterior sus temores,emociones, angustias, presiones, maltratos, y es alli donde se debe ayudar, saber el origen de sus problemas para orientarlo de la mejor manera y pueda seguir adelante con sus estudios ya que muchas veces hasta llega a deprimirse.

  38. Jaclyn Morton says

    I am doing a research paper on how Art therapy benefits the mentally disabled and was wondering who the editor or author of this blog was so I could correctly give the author proper credit.

  39. adriana lopez says

    first of all i want to say this is awsome!! im doing a speech on art therapy and was looking for the author to give the proper credit aswell thanks adri

  40. says

    I just spent some time researching this topic, particularly as art therapy relates to cancer, and the results are terrific, on a wide variety of cancer-related issues. If you’d like a look at the research on the topic from peer-reviewed journals, take a look at my post “‘Art Is A Form Of Power:’ Art Therapy and Cancer” at http://wp.me/p22afJ-Nq. It’s compelling. Thank you for taking the time to blog on this crucial subject.

  41. Natalie says

    I was wondering who the author is of this blog? I am writing a research paper over Art Therapy and need an author to correctly cite this source!

  42. Danielle M. Metta says

    I just spent the last half hour reading this blog and I love it! I am a Junior in High School, and I want to major in Art Therapy. This gave me great insight on the career and I can’t wait to start my journey. There are a few questions I need to ask to help me with ollege and how I should continue my training in this field. PLease e-mail me at my e-mail adress attatched to this comment. I will greatly appreciate it.

    -Thank You!
    dmetta95@yahoo.com

  43. Sandra says

    Do people in the Art Therapy profession have medical, dental and vision benefits? Also, do they work on the weekends and holidays?

  44. rajesh yadav says

    Dear,
    Sir/madam,
    I want to learn art therapy. Can you guide me about courses/colleges.
    thank-you.

  45. urmila says

    hallo sir/madam,

    Hi,am a MASTER of FINE ARTS graduate from SIR J. J. SCHOOL OF ART,MUMBAI . I really like to take art theropy as profession. I know Art is therapeutic,and really helps in the healing process. but i dont know where to get its proffessional training and practice in MUMBAI? PLEASE HELP ME ABOUT THIS…THANK YOU.

  46. OYENIYI GABRIEL says

    Please i need a reliable school where i can i study more about dance therapy.. Am a Nigerian. Any school in Africa, Europe. USA or Asia

  47. says

    hi i am sonali
    recentally i was my art based thearpy from wcclf foundion it is great experience for me i am working with mentally disabile childern during session i got lots of fun to childerns face they enjoy the class and showing active participation to activity

  48. says

    Ok… Question…
    I’m getting back into school and am attempting to narrow down a degree to focus on. The one thing that has been consistent in my life is my love of writing. That involves for me, poetry and screenwriting.
    This said, I have an interest in counseling. I like to think that I can be of some help to someone else. I mean, what other way to benefit your life by helping someone else’s?
    Being creative and having gone through some counseling myself. I see benefits in both. Creating, self expression is a great outlet and one on one counseling, even group therapy, which I am a huge fan of, is a great tool for thought provoking self enlightenment. It’s awesome to learn from each other’s own journeys. Is it possible to learn from each other’s creativity? Not only learn about ourselves in the process but have other’s gain something from your creative self expression? This goes back to a form of group therapy.
    So my question is… Is it possible to use the art of filmmaking, the storytelling aspect, writing, acting directing and so on as a form of art therapy and what could the clients benefit from it? I just need more clarity in what I would wish to accomplish by doing this. Basic point. I would like to incorporate my love for film into counseling others.

  49. HB says

    Hello, I just read your great article and it was a very helpful for my project. My project is about how to get rid of stress- and I chose art therapy. I got all the info down, but just wondering, is art therapy actually proven? I researched and found that it depends on the type of people… but was there any proven research(es) behind it? I got the general information saying that art therapy is useful because it takes you mind off what’s bothering you. So it’s good for mental disorders. (anxiety, tension, etc.) But in order to present my project more convincingly, I want to know if there is any proof of art therapy. It would be really helpful if I got this one point for my project. :)

  50. Vivien says

    Hi Admin
    Could you please put me in touch with Ayesha in Mumbai who posted in April?
    I am an arts therapist in Australia with 30 plus years experience.I will be in Mumbai next March 2015 and could organise to meet her, maybe even run a workshop or whatever might help.
    Thankyou
    Vivien Beere

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