About Art Therapy
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses visual arts as a major mode of expression within the therapy space. In this confidential and creative space, the client expresses their emotions artistically and verbally, allowing for a unique means of exploring one’s thoughts and feelings.
Art therapy is both an internal experience, allowing for introspection through art-making while enhancing the externalization of emotion. Through the use of symbolism and metaphor, thoughts and feelings become pieces of art, which can then be interacted with. Artistic expression can be helpful for releasing emotions, which are difficult to verbalize or have been suppressed over time.
Within the art therapy space, many mediums are present to allow for a client-driven experience. This enhances expressive potential, as every medium feels different to use. Examples of mediums are paint, pencil crayon, marker, oil pastel, chalk pastel, clay, glitter, charcoal, and collage.
About the Professional
Art therapists require a masters level training program, which educates the professional about psychology, psychotherapy, mental health diagnoses, and diverse populations. It is a regulated mental health profession, regulated by Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA), Ontario Art Therapy Association (OATA), and the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO).
About the Process
Art therapy provides a space for the safe processing of thoughts and feelings, in a confidential, non-judgmental environment. Art therapists practice through a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive framework, and work through a strengths-based lens. Art therapists use differing talk therapy modalities within the therapy space when engaging with the artwork and associations. This can include the use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Mindfulness and meditation, among others.
Beneficial for all ages
Art therapy is beneficial for all ages and is used to enhance the quality of life for people living with (but not limited to): anxiety, stress, depression, self-esteem issues, bullying, addictions, grief and bereavement, trauma, family conflict, illness, among others.