Art Therapy

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Art Therapy


Art therapy began as a means for comprehending psychological difficulties of patients associated to psychiatric distress. However, art treatment furthermore has been discovered to be an significant procedure for speaking to the psychological, emotional, and connection desires of patients with such chronic health illnesses as cerebral palsy and dementia. One demonstration of the consequences of art treatment on the cognitive advancement of brain-damaged patients is a study who described advanced vigilance, recollection and association purposes for three mind impaired patients.


Art therapy is used as a complementary therapy in integrative medicine programs as a means to attain both the psychological and physiological benefits of self-expression. It is based on the principle that creative self-expression is inherently healing and life-enhancing. Therapists need not rely solely on verbal communication, but may gain additional insight from art therapy techniques used by both adults and children.

Children are particularly responsive to art therapy. Drawing, painting, and constructing with an art therapist may help children communicate difficult issues, reconcile emotions, and reduce stress. (Wethington 2008)

Through creating and discussing art with an art therapist, one can increase awareness of self, cope with symptoms, cope with stress or trauma, enhance cognitive abilities, and enjoy the pleasures of artistic creativity. (McNiff 2002)

Self-expression is considered an essential process in psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and their families. Through the process of self-expression, art therapy is believed to help people organize their inner reactions to events in their lives. This enables them to understand and express their feelings more clearly. The organizing function served by art therapy enables people to find meaning in their experience. This in turn may aid them in defining goals and desired outcomes.

In medical illness, research has established that emotional expression has positive benefits for the immune, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. The psychological and physiological benefits attained through art therapy may contribute to improved quality of life and, theoretically, to the medical course of illness. (Malchiodi 2006)

Art materials and techniques should match the age and ability of the client. People with impairments, such as traumatic brain injury or an organic neurological condition, may have difficulties with the self-discovery portion of the art therapy process depending on their level of functioning. However, they may still benefit from art therapy through the sensory stimulation it provides and the pleasure they get from artistic creation. (McNiff 2002)

When art therapy is chosen as a therapeutic tool to cope with a physical condition, it should be treated as a supplemental therapy and not as a substitute for conventional medical treatments. (Wethington 2008)


Weinberg observed improved motivation and self-respect in brain damaged individuals and stroke patients who used a computer art therapy program to help them express their anger and frustration. Art therapy may be effective in strengthening a patient's visual-perceptual function. (Wethington 2008)

In a study of art therapy with children who had learning disabilities and visualperception problems, Gair reported that the children's self-portrait drawings were greatly enhanced with respect to visual expression, as were visual reception, visual ending, visual linkage, and visual memory ...
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