Creative Corner Resources

What is Art Therapy and What Does An Art Therapist Do?

what is art therapy

What is Art Therapy and What Does An Art Therapist Do?


Right from the onset of human civilisation, art has played an integral role in helping us communicate with each other. From the earliest cave paintings and petroglyphs, humans have used art as a means of self-expression. But as time rolled by, art has also developed and matured into a niche of study wherein therapists can unravel subdued emotions using art activities. 

This niche is known as art therapy. It’s primarily concerned with promoting psychological and physical well-being in recipients. Thus, art therapists in today’s times work in community settings and help alleviate and possibly treat a host of mental health challenges. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be mentally unwell to reap the benefits of art therapy. What does that mean? It means that art therapy also serves as a medium to better cope with stress and achieves a sense of personal fulfilment. All in all, art therapy for mental health is a field that's constantly gaining momentum.

In this article, we’ll go through the various aspects involved in art therapy and art therapy benefits. Along with the role that professional art therapists play, and how you can tap into the benefits of art activities such as colouring, drawing, painting, and even indulging in creating some music.

What Is Art Therapy?

To better come to grips with today’s topic, let’s understand what art therapy means and the scope to which it pertains.

Art therapy is essentially a form of expressive therapy that hinges upon using creative processes to explore a person’s feelings, emotions, and behaviours. 

The physical act of creating art itself helps people deal with stress and anxiety, indulge in learning new social skills, and improve self-esteem, which in turn stimulate personal growth and development. 

Thus, art therapy can help to achieve different outcomes for different people. You can indulge in it and leverage it as a means of healing, treatment, rehabilitation, psychotherapy, and so forth. 

Art therapy is just as effective as stand-alone therapy or any other physical and mental health well-being program. 

Therefore, practising art therapists are trained in art and psychology to draw out the true potential of art therapy. 

Art therapist practitioners deal with diverse people, from those who desire a higher quality of life to those with substance use disorders and complex psychological issues. Let’s now venture deeper into the scope of work of art therapy practitioners. 

What Does An Art Therapist Do?

During the first interaction with the client, the art therapist will make assessments and determine the best therapy course for them.

Once the type of art therapy is singled out, the art therapist guides the client through the process to indulge in various art activities. 

Keep in mind that art therapy is an explorative practice and that there’s no right or wrong way to indulge in the same. The art therapist’s role is only to guide the client, not to spoon-feed the correct way of completing an activity. Upon completing the artwork, the art therapist will provide insights to the client about the activity and the conclusions that can be drawn from the artwork. 

By indulging in such an interactive and creative session, art therapists can extract insights about the client. The therapists can then help the clients develop better self-expression and communication skills. Art therapy, thus, serves as an outlet for clients to vent out their emotions, express themselves, and better deal with psychological traumas. 

Expertise Art Therapists Need To Possess

To fully provide an immersive therapeutic experience to the client, skills needed to be an art therapist include a background of both psychology and human development apart from being formally trained in both therapy and art. 

For you as a client, you don’t need to possess any prior art-related experience to absorb the benefits of art therapy. 

An effective art therapist will draw insights from your artwork rather than teach or critique your art skills. 

The art therapist’s job is to delve into underlying patterns that appear in the client’s artwork. Plus art therapy qualifications in the UK include using psychotherapeutic counselling techniques to stimulate personal growth and encourage self-awareness. 

What Are The Opportunities For An Art Therapist?

Since art therapy is an upcoming and diverse niche, the opportunities are endless. Art therapy can be used on a diverse group of people -from young children to the elderly, prisoners to war veterans, individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress to individuals looking to improve their lives further. 

Art therapists may have to work with children, teenagers, older individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities.

Thus, the job of an art therapist involves working with people with emotional problems, trauma, and even disabilities. 

Art therapists, therefore, can work in hospitals, rehabilitation care units, clinical research facilities, wellness centres, detention centres, forensic institutions, senior communities, and even schools. 

Also read "Art Therapy Classes in London"

Therapractic Artisans Craft Kit 

If you’ve joined us till here, it’d be great for you to consider delving into leathercrafting. It provides a therapeutic experience for you as it indulges both your physical and mental being. Leathercrafting demands your attention which is why it’s considered one of the most hands-on crafts you can invest yourself in. 

We identify as pioneers of the leathercrafting industry in the UK. At Artisans, we've put together an exhaustive online resource that acts as a one-stop guide for all your leathercrafting needs. Our beginner-friendly DIY kits will guide you through your first leathercrafting project. 

Final Thoughts

As we can conclude by now, arts and crafts are a great way to help reduce the stress in your life. Additionally, its therapeutic purposes help create a sense of calm, which is of the essence in today's times. 

Art therapy provides a whole plethora of benefits that go a long way in significantly improving an individual’s life. You don’t necessarily need to have an underlying mental condition to indulge in art therapy; it can serve as a great addition to your lifestyle as a healthy practice. 

Additionally, it serves as an excellent opportunity for you to further your career as an art therapist as this upcoming field gains momentum.

There's a plethora of art therapy courses and art therapy masters available online to further your knowledge. There's also no dearth of art therapy jobs either to take your career further.

Check out the British Association of Art Therapists here