WHAT IS ART THERAPY?
What comes to mind when you think of therapy? Sitting across from a psychologist who is rapidly scribbling across a yellow note pad? Or lying on a leather couch staring at the blank ceiling pouring out your inner turmoil? Did painting, drawing or pottery ever come to mind?
Classic therapy sessions focus on speaking about your struggles, fears, and anger. People may seek professional help for a number of different reasons. Sometimes couples require marriage counselling, people with mental health issues require help for their symptoms, some require help for substance abuse, grief or physical illnesses.
When it comes to art therapy, some skeptics and critics question if painting, drawing and finger painting can actually help people work through trauma, stress or mental health problems. But those who practice this type of therapy believe that creativity can unearth a world of self-understanding.
Art therapy can help people deal with all kinds of problems, such as:
• Eating disorders
• Cancer and other serious illnesses
There is a website titled Art as Therapy which explains all the things people may need help working through or dealing with. The lists include six main areas of focus. These main categories dive further into specific situations and feelings people experience.
For example, the category Love has fifteen sub-categories that cover everything from marital problems to insecurities about sex to going through a breakup.
When you select one of these dozens of subcategories, the link leads you to a piece of artwork or picture and a brief write up that can help explain the feelings or feelings you have.
LOCAL ART THERAPY
Kamloops is home to an art counselling service, called Art & Possibility Counselling. Located in the heart of downtown, across from Riverside Park, the counselling office combines classic talk therapy with a creative aspect to help clients with whatever difficulty they are dealing with.
This counselling service offers both one-on-one and group sessions. The website goes to explain that the process of creating art helps people understand a sensitivity within themselves. Clients are also taught how creativity and self-expression can help them uncover feelings or thoughts or memories that are hidden within their subconscious.
ART THERAPY IN ACADEMIA
Art therapy has raised a lot of discussion in academia as to whether it is a legitimate way to counsel and guide people through troubling times. Alain de Botton, a philosopher, and author, and John Armstrong wrote a book about art as therapy and offer extensive and thought-provoking claims about the benefits of painting or sculpting your way through everyday challenges. The book explains the therapeutic benefits of interpreting and creating art, which can create feelings of calmness and serenity.
There are many videos of de Botton speaking about his book and art. For example,
Whether you are painting or watching art videos on Instagram, the act of creativity can be soothing and inspiring. Art opens up different channels within the brain as well as a whole world of imagination and individualism. The benefits of art can help people deal with stress, mental health or even feelings of loneliness.
Even if it is abstract paint pours, collages or finger painting, art can be made by anyone at any level of expertise. You never know what artistic talents you may be hiding from yourself.