How does Art Therapy work?
Art therapy engages the creative process through art making, which can be healing, enriching and pleasurable. One does not have to be an artist to benefit from art therapy. The process of making art and exploring the art visually, as well as talking about it with an art therapist, can promote personal growth. Art therapy can facilitate change and provide coping skills, often with much more clarity than words alone could have provided. The art therapist provides a safe, non-judgmental environment for the participants to express themselves through a variety of art media. Sometimes the art making is spontaneous and other times it is directed by the facilitator, with the emphasis on empowering the participant to self-interpret their non-verbal expression, with the guidance of the art therapist. Some art therapists administer projective testing in order to interpret graphic material as a tool to help with diagnosis and treatment planning. However, diagnosing art work is not to be confused with art therapy, which is a process that occurs within a therapeutic relationship; a journey to be traveled by both the art therapist and the participant.