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What is Art Therapy?

Art Therapy

Art therapy is used for all ages and abilities as a way of self-expression and discovery.

Although art therapy is a fairly new practice, art has been used to convey thoughts and ideas since the oldest cave people first drew on the walls in Cantabria, Spain nearly 40,000 years ago. But it wasn’t until the 1940’s when the term “art therapy” was coined. The first art therapy graduate program was founded in 1944 by Dr. Edith Kramer, an Austrian-born woman who studied the arts in Vienna. Dr. Kramer opened the art therapy program at New York University and served as an assistant professor of the program from 1973 to 2005. By the middle of the 20th century, art therapy was practiced in hospitals and mental health facilities around the world. Now that we know where this therapy got its start, what exactly is art therapy and how can it help its patients?

What is Art Therapy?

According to the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), art therapy is the use of art creation as a form of psychotherapy for people experiencing trauma or illness, seeking personal development, or struggling to deal with the day-to-day act of living. While art is not used as a diagnostic tool, it is used as a medium to help address emotional issues that could be confusing or distressing to children, young adults, adults, and the elderly. Clients who use art therapy may have a wide range of difficulties, disabilities, and diagnoses, including emotional, behavioral, and mental health problems; learning and physical disabilities; life-limiting conditions; neurological conditions; and physical illnesses.

The Applications of Art Therapy

Art therapy is used in many different settings including clinical applications. Art therapists work with people of all ages with a wide variety of disorders and diseases. Art therapy is a good way for people who are otherwise silent to express themselves and deal with stress. Using both their evaluative and psychoanalytic skills, art therapists use the creative process to help increase insight; cope with stress; work through traumatic events; increase cognitive, memory, and neurosensory abilities; improve interpersonal relationships; and to achieve greater self-fulfillment. This process helps a therapist to better understand their client’s needs and ability to absorb information through the elements present in their art. Art therapy has shown great pride with students ages 11 to 18 with autism spectrum disorder. This therapy is used to help improve social skills as well as improve assertion scores and hyperactivity scores. For traumatic event patients, art therapy is used as crisis intervention. Some people with learning disabilities have found this therapy useful by supporting and validating their emotional and mental health. Art therapy is a way for individuals to express themselves and how they are feeling on a personal level without being judged. It is a great way for people who are otherwise silent to deal with stress. There are many different types of therapy to help you or your family members through difficult situations. For more information on the many different types of therapy services we offer, call Family Service Foundation, Inc. today!

Welcome to Family Service Foundation, Inc!

Family Service Foundation, Inc. has been serving the greater Maryland area since 1936. This nonprofit organization helps Maryland residents across a span of different areas such as mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, and provides interpretation for deaf and deaf-blind individuals. To learn more about autism spectrum disorder or developmental disabilitiesvisit here. Do you “Follow” and “Like?” Be sure to stay active on our official pages for FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest today!