Benefits of Art Therapy

Art Therapy Sourcebook

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©2012 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

Art therapy is using creative art techniques to work through your feelings over any transforming issue in your life, such as illness and trauma or positive life changes that transition your life to a new phase.

What is art therapy?

Art therapy is a creative healing method to help people express themselves through art.  By painting, drawing, sculpting or using clay they can gain insights to their feelings and thoughts as they work through emotional issues, cancer, abuse, or other issues as they heal.  For children, art therapy can help them deal with issues when they cannot express or identify with words what they are feeling.

Benefits of art therapy:

  • Pain relief.  Art therapy techniques help in pain relief for those chronically or terminally ill.  It is a good coping method for pain control.
  • Empowerment.  When you don’t have the words to express how you feel, art therapy can give you a sense of control over your feelings and work through them.
  • Relaxation and stress relief.  Used alone or combined with other relaxation methods to relieve anxiety and stress, art therapy can relieve chronic stress and anxiety symptoms.
  • Self-healing.  Art therapy is used to help work through resentment, anger and other emotions during and after traumatic illness and incidents.  Art therapy helps you to come to terms with your feelings and restore your spirit.
  • Personal fulfillment.  Creating art builds confidence and fulfillment of self-worth.

Art therapy can also be used for positive life transforming changes such as a trip to a new country and exploring that culture, someone that has been a positive change in your life, falling in love, having a baby or any other positive change in your life.

Who benefits from art therapy?

Everyone can benefit from art therapy.  You can use it on your own or within groups.  Art therapy for children and adults helps with:

  • Trauma and loss
  • Abuse, domestic violence
  • Eating disorders
  • Cancer
  • Sexual abuse
  • Substance abuse, addictions
  • Disabilities
  • Chronic illness
  • Depression, mental disorders
  • Family and relationship problems

Art therapy programs are now used in many places now, such as medical centers, hospitals, schools, psychiatric centers, support groups, prisons, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, nursing homes, day care treatment programs, hospices and art studios.

Learn more about art therapy with the following art therapy books and art therapy associations.

American Art Therapy Association

International Expressive Arts Therapy Association     

Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings



Raw Art Journaling




Art Journals and Creative Healing




Faith Books and Spiritual Journaling




The Soul's Palette:  Drawing on Art's Transformative Powers























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