Art therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses art and other artistic mediums to help people explore and express their thoughts and emotions in a unique way.
With this kind of therapy, the idea is to use art as a way of communicating. Art therapy can be useful if you find it difficult to say what you are feeling - particularly if you are experiencing confusing or distressing emotions. The act of using physical objects, such as paintbrushes and paper, may also help you to feel more connected to the world around you.
As well as helping those who may be struggling with their mental health, art therapy can be beneficial to a wide range of people, including young children, the elderly and those in the justice system. Experience or skill in any artistic mediums is not required, as your work will not be criticised - it is more about the emotions expressed and felt throughout the process.
During each session, you can be as involved (or uninvolved) as you like. If you are in a group setting you may simply wish to sit back and observe for the first session or two. Before you start therapy, you should have a consultation with your therapist so you can discuss what has brought you to art therapy and what you hope to gain from your sessions.
As part of your therapy, your art therapist may ask to display your work in an exhibition. This can be useful as it often helps individuals to accept their own emotions and feel more accepted by others. This may be because their experiences are presented in a way that is easier for others to understand. If you don't want to exhibit your art, you may find the simple act of framing it helpful. Many people say they feel as though the frame acts as a barrier, keeping the emotions within the picture safe.
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