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Blog: Could art therapy improve your health?

Art is not only a creative human expression it’s a form of education, and as humans, we are constantly surrounded by it. The therapy is used in an educational setting to encourage development and to help support individuals with attachment issues.

According to therapists at Chroma, it’s known as a form of psychotherapy used to express feelings, emotions and thoughts, it’s an emotional regulatory therapy which is better for an individual’s mental health.

The therapy itself has a creative and analytical element with emphasis on the creative aspect and the verbal communication between the client and therapist.

During art therapy, individuals are guided by their feelings, providing them with the opportunity to engage socially, discuss feelings and create art.

It’s seen as an effective therapy and the science behind it relates to psychoanalytic psychotherapy which is based on the attachment theory. It recognises the importance of play as a tool for making sense of the world.

People with brain injuries, dementia or Alzheimer’s could benefit from art therapy as it helps connect the past to present, by encouraging the individual to use past experiences to create art in the present.

The idea of past and present allows one to link memories and feelings together, for example, some individuals may not recall creating their last piece of art but reminding the individual it was their creation could help ground them in the present.

Other benefits include reducing anxiety and stress by allowing individuals to express themselves to a therapist, producing a calming effect as well as a safe place and can act as a break from one’s thoughts.

With access to group or solo therapy, it can determine where the individual falls on their treatment pathway. For example, a recent stroke survivor may struggle to participate in a large group, whereas an Alzheimer or dementia patient will feel better in a group because the social benefits help minimise feelings of isolation and encourage interaction.

The type of therapy will be determined according to their skills, preferences and emotions. Individuals are exposed to activities such as painting, drawing and modelling influenced by what they wish to create and whether it’s abstract or detailed. This will essentially contribute to managing behaviour and feelings.