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.
What is the Cycle of Anxiety?
When the uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety feel like too much, one of the simplest ways to feel better is avoidance. This means avoiding the source of anxiety, or numbing the uncomfortable feelings. The good news is, avoidance works… for a little bit. The bad news is, the relief that avoidance brings is temporary, and the anxiety tends to come back worse than before.
The cycle of anxiety is a process where a person avoids their fears, and as a result, those fears grow increasingly powerful. Avoidance becomes increasingly difficult to resist, and the anxiety continues to grow worse. Many anxiety treatments work by breaking this cycle. They focus on facing fears, rather than avoiding them.
In this video, the cycle of anxiety is broken down and explained step-by-step, by Woody Schuldt, a mental health counselor.
The Postcard Art Activity will test the creativity of both the therapist and client. The printout depicts the back of a basic postcard—it’s a bit of a blank canvas.
Here’s how to use it: Write a short message to someone who you miss, someone who you are frustrated with, or to someone with whom want to share something. On the back of the paper (the side without any print), the client can represent their feelings or a message through artwork. However, you’re free to use this template as you see fit.
For Postcard-Art-Activity, Click here:(PDF)