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Updated: Aug 23, 2020

Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, coloring, or sculpting to help people express artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones signified in their art. With the guidance of a credentialed art therapist, clients can "decode" various non-verbal messages, symbols, and metaphors often found in these art forms, which leads to a better understanding of their feelings and behavior so they can move on to understand and then resolve their deeper issues.

Art therapy benefits people of all ages. Research indicates that art therapy improves communication and concentration and helps reduce feelings of isolation. Positive results and benefits in art therapy may often be achieved by those facing mental health concerns such as:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Substance dependency

  • Stress

  • Post Traumatic Stress

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity

  • Compassion fatigue

  • Family or relationship issues

Art therapy allows people to express feelings on any subject through a creative flow of work rather than with speech. It is believed to be particularly helpful for those who feel out of touch with their emotions or even feelings. Certain individuals experiencing difficulty discussing or remembering painful experiences may also find art therapy thoroughly beneficial. 

When is art therapy used?

Art therapy helps children, adolescents, and adults explore their emotions, improve their self-esteem, manage addictions, helps relieve stress, improves symptoms of anxiety and depression. No artistic talent is necessary in order for art therapy to succeed, because the therapeutic process is not about the artistic value of the work, but rather about finding associations between the creative choices made and a client's inner mind and thus, life. The artwork can be used as a springboard for reawakening certain memories and then telling stories that may reveal various messages and beliefs from the unconscious mind. In many cases, art therapy can be used in conjunction with other psychotherapy techniques such as group therapy or even cognitive-behavioral therapy.

What to expect from art therapy?

As with any form of therapy, your first session will consist of you talking to the therapist about why you want to find help and learning what the therapist has to offer. Together, you will come up with a treatment plan that involves creating some form of artwork. Once you begin creating, the therapist may, at times, simply observe your process as you work, without any form of interference or judgment.

When you have finished a piece of artwork—and sometimes while you are still working on it—the therapist will ask you questions along the lines of how you feel about the artistic process, what was easy or difficult about creating your artwork, and what thoughts or memories you may have had while you were working on it. Generally, the therapist will ask about your experience and feelings before providing any observations.

People often wonder how an art therapy session differs from the regular art class.

Where an art class is focused on teaching technique or creating a specific finished product, art therapy is more about letting the clients focus on their inner experience. in creating art, people are able to focus on their own perceptions, imagination, and feelings. Clients are encouraged to create art that expresses their inner world more than making something that is an expression of the outer world.

The benefits of art therapy are indeed numerous, and here are seven ways it can help on the path to sobriety:

Helps You to Work On Self Management

Loss of control is a common side effect of addiction. People may prioritize getting high over personal and professional responsibilities and struggle to balance their addiction to life activities. Art therapy helps in learning skills to focus, build, discipline, and hence, live a healthy life.

Eases Symptoms Of Depression

Art therapy can help foster positivity in people’s lives and provide something to look forward to every day. It is proven to help combat the chemical imbalances in the brain that may lead to depression.

Improves Communication

Individuals who struggle with expressing their thoughts and emotions may resort to unhealthy practices that can be harmful for their mental well-being. Art therapy fosters self-expression and can be a tool for communication skills and the ability to reach out to others.

Address Past Experiences

Many people attempt to block out painful memories of past traumatic experiences. Through art, individuals can slowly begin to express their feelings about a certain event and take steps to move forward. Art therapy can help improve symptoms related to physical and mental health concerns as well. Among other benefits, it can help reduce pain, stress, and irritability levels during recovery from various experiences from the past.

Reduces Levels Of Stress

Heavy daily demands can take a toll on one’s mind and body. Art therapy helps to convert negative energy into positive habits that promote lasting health—free of harmful substances and addictions.

Helps Improve Problem-Solving Skills

By opening the mind, art therapy encourages people to seek smart solutions to problems rather than rely on various addictions or negativity. This is especially helpful in young adults who may struggle with fitting in or keeping up with the rapid changes in their lives.

Boosts Self-Esteem

Studies show that individuals who have more confidence and social skills are far more likely to develop healthy habits. Art therapy helps build self-awareness and self-esteem necessary to tackle various social situations and life challenges.

Written By - Trishna Patnaik

Painting Credits - Trishna Patnaik

If you feel like you need some professional help with redirecting your mind to more positive pursuits, write to us at or Book your Initial Consultation on

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