Art therapy is a blended field of therapeutic practice that combines art and psychology, by utilizing the creative process, artistic techniques and external artwork to support individuals to develop self-awareness, explore emotions and address unresolved conflict or trauma.
Art therapy has also been used to help individuals, particularly young children, develop social skills and raise self-confidence. It’s a fantastic addition within positive psychology as, at its core, it seeks to help individuals overcome emotional or psychological challenges to achieve a greater sense of personal wellbeing.
A broader definition of art therapy has been established by the American Art Therapy Association as follows:
Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.
(American Art Therapy Association, 2013)
To participate in art therapy, you do not need any prior experience with art or a ‘natural’ artistic ability. The process itself is one of exploration with no ‘wrongs’ and no ‘rights.’ The practice allows each individual to use creative activities in ways that support them best without judgment.