The evolution of human society and our indulgence in artistic practices go way back. We’ve forever leveraged art as a creative outlet to explore our emotions, voice our opinions on societal issues and document history. However, over the years, the therapeutic effects of art on our well-being have come to the fore.
The term art therapy is essentially about using artistic methods to help in the treatment of psychological disorders and boost mental health. To many, it may be surprising to know how art can serve as an effective tool in the betterment of mental health.
This article is directed towards spreading awareness amongst readers about the role art therapy in the UK plays in stimulating our cognitive well-being. We’ll exhaustively cover how you can use art to communicate, overcome stress, and set the foundation for a healthier relationship with yourself and others.
So without further ado, let’s get to it.
Art therapy is a well-being technique. It has emerged from the idea that creative expression has a psychotherapeutic effect that stimulates healing and mental health. In simpler words, art therapy is nothing but indulging in the art to improve your mental health and well-being.
Art therapy aims to maximise the utilisation of these creative processes to help you rejuvenate your inner being and self-expression. This encourages your mind to develop new skills that serve as a therapeutic cognitive exercise.
There are no hard and fast rules to be followed in art therapy. So you can indulge in art forms like painting, sculpting, drawing or even leather crafting. As long as you’re engrossed in something that captivates you, your activity will serve as a therapeutic exercise.
Make sure you fully immerse yourself in the experience, only then will you be able to explore and unwind your inner emotions and suppressed feelings. Allowing you to address these emotions and liberating you from the emotional burden is what art therapy is all about.
How Does Art Therapy Work?
For people who’ve experienced psychological trauma - emotional or physical, art therapy acts as a creative outlet to express repressed feelings and emotions.
People who indulge in art therapy are encouraged to focus on their emotions, perceptions, and imaginations when creating art. Art therapy, thus, involves the creation of art that expresses your inner turmoil rather than creating something that’s a reflection of the outer world.
People often tend to release their anger via aggressive strokes of paint on their canvas. Others, to heal, often revisit their source of trauma through their paintings.
Additionally, people suffering from mental illnesses like anxiety and depression, tend to soothe their chaotic minds through the calmness of various art forms. Colours play a significant role in addressing the emotions of people with psychological issues.
All in all, an art therapist deploys a variety of media that allow you to engage with the activity at hand and establish a subconscious connection with it. This fosters mental healing in the person who’s practising art therapy.
Types of Art Therapy
Art therapy allows you to express emotions and thoughts that would otherwise remain confined within yourself. To facilitate this process, art therapists use psychological and artistic theories to achieve a therapeutic outcome in an individual’s mind.
The commonly used practices in art therapy include:
Contrary to popular belief, leathercrafting is one of the easiest crafts to indulge in. Interacting with leather makes you appreciate its magisterial properties and stimulates therapeutic well-being.
Leathercrafting demands immense attention - this will ensure that you’re not caught up in the negative loop of thoughts and focus on the craft and the present moment. More than that, leathercrafting helps you create highly functional items like wallets, purse, cardholders, glass case. These items will keep reminding you of your ability to create something beautiful, of your own.
Doodling is a creative practice that has many mental benefits. It’s neither time consuming nor expensive. You can indulge in it to liberate your inner emotions. Doodling doesn’t necessarily need to be aesthetically pleasing and thus also frees you from performance anxiety.
People who have a hard time verbally communicating their deepest feelings can utilise this art form to bring out their inner world using pen and paper.
With mental health challenges, people are unable to release the anger that has accumulated within them. Scribbling is known to be an excellent practice for anger management as it helps you focus on the now.
It allows you to turn away from the negative chain of emotions and gives your mind the space to relax. Scribbling, similar to doodling, doesn’t have to be perfect. This readily emphasises the process rather than the result.
This medium of creative release is one of the most engaging ways to exercise your mind and create a therapeutic connection with yourself. You can use canvas painting, as a form of art therapy, to express your repressed emotions through colours, patterns, and paintings.
The outcome of canvas painting is that it leaves you feeling accomplished and significant something that you struggle with during mental turmoils.
This is another crucial type of art therapy. Finger painting allows you a hands-on experience to create something of your own using your fingers. It’s critical to stimulate a mind-body therapeutic connection.
Because finger painting is highly engaging, it helps you shift your attention to the present moment, and the various colours and the abstract result of finger painting relaxes the mind.
Sculpting And Carving
Sculpting and Carving have been associated with the treatment of dementia. The art form largely requires focus and an upright posture. Plus creation of art that resembles human figures is known to increase personal awareness, identification of self and relation with others.
Happiness, joy, sadness, loneliness, relaxation, attention, courage and many more sensations are reaffirmed in the person practising the art form. Most importantly, while you indulge in sculpting and carving, your implicit memory automatically brings forth the movements and actions that your body has learned over the lifetime.
What are the benefits of art therapy?
Art therapy is widely used as a complementary aid to traditional mental health treatment practices to reduce stress and anxiety in an individual. Other benefits of indulging in art therapy include:
Indulging in the art can help you venture into your feelings and emerge as a more fulfilled version of yourself. Art therapy enables you to acknowledge your emotions and acts as a healthy outlet for the release of emotional suffocation.
One of the most important benefits of art therapy is its ability to tap into your deepest and darkest emotions so that they can be addressed and healed.
Art also serves as an essential means by which you can focus on the here and now. Plus, it helps you de-stress and unplug from the stress-inducing factors of everyday life.
A Therapeutic Experience with .Ar:ti|sans Craft Kit
Leathercrafting involves both - your physical as well as mental being in a way that stimulates a therapeutic effect, thus making it one of the most beneficial hobbies to pursue.
Thinking of how to get into leathercrafting? We, at .Ar:ti|sans, have got you covered. We’ve put together an exhaustive online resource that acts as a one-stop guide for all your leathercrafting needs.
You can get started with this beginner-friendly .Ar:ti|sans’ Leather Craft Kit that will walk you through the entire leathercrafting DIY tutorials.
The best part about art therapy is that anyone can indulge in it. You don’t need to be a proficient artist to reap the rewards of this practice. The only prerequisite is your willingness to spend time indulging in art and channel your emotions and creativity into whatever activity you may be a part of.
Research studies have indicated a correlation between indulging in art and the release of the feel-good hormone - dopamine. As the name suggests, this hormone helps us feel better and can be critical for tackling mentally challenging situations like anxiety or depression.
Indulge in the process of art creation and embark on a journey of self-discovery, one that helps you address all your emotional baggage. So what’re you waiting for?
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