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Benefits of Art Therapy

Benefits of Art Therapy, Things to Love About Art Therapy, Benefits of Art Therapy, Why Art Therapy Works, Conditions Art Therapy Can Treat, Can Patients Provide Art Therapy for Themselves?, What Art Therapy Sessions Look Like,

Art therapy is a therapeutic intervention that is led by a trained clinician and uses the act of creating art, combined with psychological theory, to benefit a person’s mental health. At Palms Behavioral Health in Harlingen, Texas, we offer art therapy as a complementary treatment to the more traditional medication and therapy options that people typically associate with mental health treatment.

Things to Love About Art Therapy

While art therapy is based on the same psychological theories as more conventional talk therapies, it is also unique in several ways that can make it a great tool to use alongside other mental health interventions:

  • Art therapy doesn’t always feel like therapy. People who have difficulty trusting therapists and building rapport may find it easier to open up during art therapy.
  • Art therapy can help people express things they can’t find the words to say or are afraid to talk about. It can be especially helpful for small children, people who are on the Autism spectrum, those who have suffered horrible trauma, and those who have lost the ability to verbalize clearly due to dementia.
  • Art is fun. Even people who don’t enjoy talk therapy often find that they look forward to art therapy sessions because they feel less pressure to put their feelings into words.
  • You don’t need to be an artist to benefit from art therapy. Unlike taking an art class, art therapy sessions are not about creating a certain quality of output, but simply about utilizing art as a means of expression to facilitate healing.
  • Art is accessible to all age groups. Small children, adolescents, adults, and seniors can all partake in and benefit from art therapy.
  • Art therapy is flexible. It can take many different forms, some of which include drawing, painting, theater, dance, music, sculpture, and photography. 

Benefits of Art Therapy

Art therapy and talk therapy can offer similar benefits, though they do so through different approaches. Some of the benefits of both types of therapy include:

  • Improving interpersonal skills
  • Increasing emotional intelligence
  • Growing self-esteem
  • Improving self-awareness
  • Teaching conflict resolution and emotional regulation skills
  • Advancing personal growth

Why Art Therapy Works

Engaging in art therapy can have a positive impact by increasing the levels of a naturally occurring “feel good” brain chemical called serotonin, increasing blood flow to the brain’s pleasure center, helping people to think in new ways, and boosting a patient’s sense of hope. This can improve their overall feeling of well-being, quality of life, and emotional resilience.

When offered alongside other therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and processing (EMDR), research has indicated that art therapy is helpful for people experiencing:

Conditions Art Therapy Can Treat

Can Patients Provide Art Therapy for Themselves?

Many people find that they enjoy the activities they do during art therapy so much that they choose to continue these forms of creative expression outside of their sessions. While doing art on one’s own can be highly beneficial, it is not considered art therapy without the guidance of a licensed, master’s-level art therapist. 

By the same token, a licensed mental health therapist who has not been licensed specifically for art therapy may utilize artistic expression as a way to support patients during talk therapy, but this is not considered art therapy. 

What Art Therapy Sessions Look Like

Art therapy often requires the art therapist to be quiet for most of the session. The client creates their art with the therapist present, but the therapist asks only a few questions while observing the process, the body language the person uses, their techniques, and choice of colors. After the art is complete, the art therapist and client will have a discussion about the art and how the client felt while completing it.

At Palms Behavioral Health, we treat adolescents, adults, and seniors with mental health diagnoses. We create individualized treatment plans for each patient we serve, offering compassion, trauma-informed care and evidence-based practices at every step in their recovery journey. Our staff are familiar with long-standing interventions, as well as the latest innovations in mental health treatment.

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About programs offered at Palms Behavioral Health

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