There are two kinds of art therapy, the fun kind and the really fun kind! Just kidding.
- The one kind focuses on creative art making as therapy
- And the other focuses on “the analysis of symbolic expression through creating art”.
Art therapists are trained in art and have had psychotherapist training, however, they are not licensed in most states. Their goals are to use art to help people to understand themselves and others and how to use art to cope with their lives.
Art as Therapy
- Art making is therapy
- The process produces growth
- Same as any non-clinical therapy
- Effective change agent
- Art is a means of symbolic communication
- It expresses personality and emotions
- Used to enhance verbal exchange
With “Art as Therapy” it is all about having fun creating beautiful things that help you understand and express your feeling and thoughts. As Christians we can add another more powerful element: the healing power of God and forgiveness.
Here are some fun, easy art exercises you can do at home as suggested by Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC
- Scribble with your eyes closed, then try to find an image created by the lines and color it.
- Create an art journal or junk journal, work on it daily and date each page, express your feelings, tell about what is going on. Create it for yourself, no one has to see it. (Write in it, junk journals imply no writing, or not much anyway.)
- Create a self-soothing image book. List things that make you feel good, such as landscapes, or cute puppies, then paste pictures of them in you book. Cheap little composition books would be good to use. Like Pinterest, only in a book. I would suggest adding fabric, or feathers, or pressed flowers, copy hymns and Bible verses, quotes, jokes…
- Make mandalas. They are fascinating, repetitive, absorbing. Keep in mind the word mandala is Sanskrit for “sacred circles” and are used for Hindu meditation. I make them but I call them kaleidoscope art (which is Greek for beautiful shape).