While Art Therapy may not yet be considered mainstream, the practice was first described by an artist in Britain during the early 1940’s. The discipline has since been developed by multiple therapists and practitioners throughout English-speaking Europe and the United States, mostly notable through art education.
Today, Art Therapy is considered a clinical profession in the mental health field due to its origins in both psychotherapy and art. Similar to the work of Family therapists and Mental Health counselors, in the United States, Art therapists must be licensed to practice in line with both state and federal policies. Other professions that have been recognized to practice Art Therapy include:
- Marriage and Family Therapists
- Nurse Practitioners
- Social Workers
- Occupational Therapists
- Rehabilitation Therapists
However, this practice can also be found in non-professional settings and exercised through various workshops, art studios, and other recreational forms of self-expression. Any form of expression which communicates without words or language is considered an Art Therapy form, including: photography, drawing, sculpting, and painting. These practices have been successfully employed with patients suffering from a variety of ailments such as: depression, memory loss, stroke residuals, brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and those with chronic illnesses.
Practitioners each present different settings for the therapeutic process depending on the needs of the patient. By using creative self-expression, therapists enable patients to work through the process of: coping with stress, working through traumatic experiences, increasing cognitive, memory and neurosensory abilities, improving interpersonal relationships, and achieving greater self-fulfillment.
Studies also show Art Therapy to be especially effective for reducing symptoms of acute stress disorder in children, as well as supporting the recovery from eating disorders. The non-verbal communication has been documented as helping to ease the processing of deep-seeded patient issues. Art Therapy is a great tool for children and many schools employee Art Therapists to help children work through behavioral issues, speech and language disorders, learning disabilities, as well as any other emotional or disruptive disturbances that hinders their ability to learn.
As with all therapies, the end goal is one of patient healing. Art Therapy has proved to aid in all aspects of physical, mental, and emotional health with successful results. CPH and Associates is proud to support and provide professional liability coverage for such a unique group of individuals who promote a world full of creativity and healthy self-expression.