I’m frequently asked the question: What is art therapy? I would first like to say what art therapy is not. It is not arts and crafts. It is not product oriented. It is not just a recreational activity. It is process oriented, self expressive and theapeutic. It is not an exact science. It is an approach toward reaching and touching emotions and recognizing feelings through art work.
I am a bilingual-bicultural art therapist often working with an ethnic population who may not be comfortable with verbal expression. Art therapy makes it easier to communicate with those who have difficulty expressing themselves in words. It provides a wonderful and insightful tool for communication. It can be a helpful tool to reach adults who tend to over intellectualize and for non-verbally expressive children as well.
The goals of art therapy are to heal and grow and develop a stronger self-identity, self-knowledge and self-expression. Clients don’t need to be good artists to express themselves. The magic of true art therapy is to encourage cretivity and facilitate self-discovery. We often create collages, use abstract images, anything that can help the artist to tell their story.