A common hurdle in therapy is when patients find it difficult to put their feelings into words. Sometimes, in spite of the patients’ willingness to express themselves and seek help for their condition, they cannot control the fact that there is just something about speaking that sometimes, it is not always necessarily easy to do. Fortunately, there are other forms of therapy which help bridge the gap between patients and therapists.
Definition Of Art Therapy
According to the American Art Therapy Association, Art Therapy is a form which uses creative means as a way to express emotions. Whatever may be too difficult or complicated to put into words, patients can freely express them in writing, painting, drawing, coloring, sculpting, or any other form of art. It allows patients to re-discover themselves, know their emotions, deal with unresolved issues, and boost their confidence.
The term “Art Therapy” was coined by Adrian Hill in 1942, a British artist who discovered the health benefits of art, particularly painting and drawing, in helping him recover from tuberculosis. Other writers have also helped their patients to deal with their mental health issues during this time while being supervised by psychologists and other professionals.
Benefits Of Art Therapy
What’s good with art therapy is that it fits all ages, its power works across all generations, and it can target various psychological, mental, and physical health issues. Research shows that art therapy can decrease feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. It is also able to help in patient’s anger and stress management. For those involved in drug-related issues, art therapy proves to be a useful diversion activity, thereby reducing the patients’ propensity for substance abuse.
Art therapy also has the effect of improving the patients’ focus and concentration, to reduce the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity. It also aids the patients’ recovery with their cognitive impairments. Research suggests that through art therapy, patients with schizophrenia can see improvements in their mental states and reductions in their symptoms. It also helps those with dissociative identity disorder to gain a more profound sense of self.
Some studies also say that art therapy heals even physical health issues. Since it relaxes the body and mind, it can ease the patients’ fatigue. It normalizes the heart rate and allows for proper breathing. In some cases, it is also able to relieve patients from anorexia and bulimia, as well as other eating disorders.
In a study involving women diagnosed with cancer, art therapy was able to help them regain their self-worth and remember their social identity. Patients who have been chronically ill have reported restoring their strength and well-being. Even those with breast cancer have shown declining episodes of the recurrence of negative emotions.
Dynamics Between Patients And Therapists
The art masterpieces are both crucial and compelling means of revealing the patients’ overall psychological disposition. Art therapists are trained to recognize the meanings and thoughts behind these various forms of art that patients engage in. They can understand how the colors, texture, and strokes take part in the therapeutic process.
For the patients, the exciting part is this does not apply only to actual painters, sculptors, photographers, and other artists. Anyone can use and benefit from art therapy. Art therapy only provides patients with another way, a different platform, and a unique method to express themselves without the pressure of using words or phrases. Although some patients may find doing art something to be unfamiliar at first, it becomes gratifying towards the end. With the help of art therapists, patients will soon find themselves comfortable to heal through art.
If you’re looking to start therapy, there are various online platforms which would allow you to meet with licensed therapists such as BetterHelp. In the midst of all the ups and downs of being diagnosed with anal cancer, here lies a beautiful fact: along with the proliferation of problems and challenges is also a multitude of ways to overcome them. Art therapy is just one of the many ways to do it.