Philosophy behind art therapy

Art therapy uses the creative process to foster self-awareness and personal growth by providing an alternate form of communication. Art therapy uses art media and the creative process to help in areas such as, but not limited to: fostering self-expression, create coping skills, manage stress, and strengthen sense of self.                                 ( You do not need to be able to draw and by using different colours, shapes and mediums you can express your inner self and so promotes self-awareness.

Benefits of art therapy include:

  • “Aesthetic quality of the work produced can lift a person’s mood, boost self-awareness, and improve self-esteem…and research shows that physiological functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration, slow when people are deeply involved in an activity they enjoy. (This is the alpha state of the brain) cited 17/11/09.”
  • Cathy Malchiodi (2009) notes art therapy promotes creative problem solving, and explores how you can use your own creativity to create solutions to the problems you are encountering in your own life and this can be transferred to solving problems in the learning environment. It is known that a child needs to develop a sense of self-worth, and often this is done through mastery and competency, meaning, children enjoy learning that allows them to be challenged, yet gives them opportunities to be successful. The creative process is associated with helping children stretch themselves, learning a new challenging skill that allows them to work through their frustrations, offers challenges, and opportunities for new ways of thinking and responding, and creates an outcome they are working towards. It is the challenge of using the art materials and working to learn new ways to communicate and express one’s self that leads to a sense of mastery, and as a result a greater sense of self.
  • In the article “hit pause button now and then” from The Australian Michael Carr- Gregg discusses the importance of learning to slow down and meditate and to learn to just be with yourself. He also notes that another key to happiness is to communicate with people who are important to us. Both these outcomes were achieved in my art therapy lessons.

Research has also shown that resilience can be enhanced by focusing on the connectedness of students ( Mind Matters Dept Education). This is also achieved through art therapy activities.