Art therapy is so varied and full of possibilities that it can be hard to explain. Think of this as just a snapshot. At its most basic, it is the therapeutic use of art, art making and the resulting images to explore thoughts, feelings, ideas, issues, conflicts, dreams, wants, etc. No special skills are required to try art therapy. There is no art class pre-requisite. All you need is an open mind and willingness to try new things.
Where Art Therapy is Offered
Art therapy is available in many settings from private practice to community art studios to hospitals, prisons and hospice care, to name a few. It can be individual, group, family or couples based. It is important that anyone providing clinical art therapy be a trained professional (or in a training program working toward a degree or certificate and under the supervision of a professional). Art therapists are required to have training in art materials and art making, psychology and counseling techniques. Most art therapists are also artists.
I offer art therapy as both a specialty and an adjunct to talk therapy. I find art therapy can be especially useful to people who are stuck in old patterns; people either overwhelmed by emotions, or disconnected from them; and people who are experiencing life events or situations that are difficult to discuss. Some examples are life challenges such as relationship issues, infertility, miscarriage, and/or other losses; and parenting.
image credit: Jen Bauer