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Art therapy: Healing through creativity

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From the very beginning, art correction was based on the psychoanalytic theories of famous scientists, Freud and Jung. In their opinion, the finished result of the creativity process (a drawing, a sculpture, an installation) reveals the unconscious mental states of the individual. Therefore, art psychological concepts can be defined from the point of view of psychoanalysis.

There is an opinion that the Art therapy technique and its name were invented by the artist Adrian Hill. He taught his tuberculosis patients to draw and noticed that art distracted them from anxiety. Patients were freed from signs of mental disorder and anxiety through drawing.

After that art therapy exercises and methods were used in the educational segment. Teachers noticed that the more a child is engaged in creativity, the faster the progress of his or her cognitive and emotional development.

Basic concepts of art therapy

Modern art therapy is based on two leading concepts:

  • Art through a veiled metaphor helps to recreate a traumatic situation and seek its solution through the transformation of the personality itself. Creativity is an effective tool for dealing with fear arising from the intrapersonal conflict.
  • When familiarizing with a complex of finished works of art (paintings, sculptures, photographs), the patient is taught the ability to cognize his own inner world and track one's feelings.

Objectives and advantages

  1. Art therapy can be prescribed to almost all patients, regardless of their age and condition; such treatment is not contraindicated even for pregnant women.
  2. You can find an acceptable approach to many psychological problems; art therapy is effective even with aggressiveness, anger, anxiety.
  3. A huge plus is a simplicity, safety, and availability of the technique. There is no discomfort in communication between a patient and an art therapist or the need to spend money on expensive tools, standard art supplies are perfect for exercises.
  4. The process of psychotherapy is optimized: with the help of the image, it is easier for the patient to express internal conflicts and unconscious experiences.
  5. Non-verbal methods activate the manifestation of those feelings that the individual is used to suppressing.

The main types of art therapy

From the point of view of classical art therapy, several of its original types are sufficient for treatment: painting, graphics, modeling. At Artistro you can find a listing of 100 different art therapy exercises and techniques, many of which you can try on your own.

Today, art synthesis therapy is becoming popular as a complex tool that combines painting, poetry, drama, rhetoric, and plastic. The modern practice uses many more types of therapeutic techniques: painting rocks, photography, library therapy, masks, fairy tales, music therapy, and their number is constantly growing.

Classical therapy

Of all the types, art therapy is the most famous, that is, correction by drawing. It is widely used in work with preschoolers to study their psycho-emotional state. It is effective in dealing with psychological problems in people of all ages. Art therapists usually use both classical (standard painting) and modern technologies:

  • The image on wet paper;
  • Drawing on transparent glass - monotypes;
  • Blowing paint onto paper through a straw;
  • Collage - gluing materials of different textures and colors: newspapers, glossy magazines, natural materials.




Art therapists include both finished photographs and original author's photographs in their work. The main content of the reception is the creation, perception, and discussion with the patient of a metaphor through a photographic image. This type of art therapy is welcomed among teenagers, as it corresponds to their interests in various gadgets.


Music therapy


Music therapy is represented by a system of musical compositions that effectively influence the maintenance of human mental health. This is a rather complex type of art therapy, as it requires a strict selection of works that help the patient to enter a certain image for self-knowledge. Music therapy is used individually and in groups. Group work is even preferable, as it makes it possible to influence well-being by discussing a piece of music from different positions.


Fairytale therapy


Fairytale therapy is a universal type of art therapy that is successfully used in work with both children and adults. It is indispensable in pedagogy not only as a means of educating moral qualities but also for correcting psychological deviations. If a problem is identified, the art therapist discusses a suitable fairy tale story with the child or encourages him to improvise. Most often, fairy tale therapy is used in a group so that common age problems can be discussed with all children.


About the Author

Sam Holmgren

Sam is an acrylic painter with 8 years of experience. Having tried many techniques and surfaces, she chose acrylic as her main tool. Since childhood, Sam dreamed of becoming an artist and devoted her whole life to mastering painting on various surfaces.