Art therapy blends traditional psychotherapeutic techniques with the creative process to help patients recognize, address, and work on emotional issues. This process is rooted in the belief that all humans are inherently creative, and that art, much like music, is a language of self-expression that can be intensely healing.
While the patient is the one who engages in the artistic process, therapists often guide the session and help identify opportunities for reflection and introspection along the way. Someone in art therapy might create a piece with a specific theme focusing on an area they struggle with, and then talk about how it makes them feel and why it makes them feel that way. Others might just utilize the creative process to let off steam, express emotion in a healthy manner, or even distract from stress.
The overall goal of art therapy is to help people gain insight into their own behaviors and experiences while also creating new coping skills along the way. You don’t need to be an artist to benefit from it, and what you create doesn’t need to be perfect or even “good,” either. Benefits come from engaging with the creative process; the end result is just a tool to help achieve this goal.