Art Therapy Ideas

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

When you think about how mental health disorders are treated, the first thing that comes to mind is talk therapy. What you may not know is that there are lots of kinds of therapies, including those that use the creative arts. Montare Outpatient understands how important using a multi-disciplinary approach is when it comes to helping people with mental illnesses. As a result, we incorporate art therapy into our treatment program for a variety of illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. When someone expresses themselves using art, they find it helps them heal in unexpected ways.

What is Art Therapy? 

Art therapy is a tool used by therapists to help people identify and express their emotions. Engaging in this type of creative outlet can help someone work through complex feelings related to current or past events in their lives and leads to resolving them. The use of art therapy began in the 1940s and became popularized in the 1970s. It is used in many modern outpatient and residential treatment programs to treat a variety of mental illnesses. It can also help people in recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs. 

Participating in art therapy does not require a person to already have artistic skills. What type of artwork they engage in varies, with common choices being drawing, painting, sculpting, and doing collage work. Whether the person is already practiced at creating art or can barely draw a stick figure, they can participate fully in this therapeutic modality.

Benefits of Doing Art for Therapy 

Man experiencing the benefits of art therapyPeople seeking treatment for mental health disorders often find it difficult to express themselves. They may participate in traditional talk therapy but do well if they also have another outlet. Art therapy has long been used to help children communicate with a therapist, but it also provides tremendous benefits for adults. 

Sometimes a person has difficulty finding the words to express their emotions or talk about something that happened in their lives. They find it easier to communicate by drawing, painting, and practicing other types of creating art. The time spent engaged in this act allows them to concentrate on a task that keeps their minds occupied. At the same time, they can express subconscious thoughts or communicate information that is painful to speak about. 

Art therapy allows people to explore their feelings in a safe environment. They can also reconcile their emotions with their behaviors and develop more effective coping skills. Art therapy also helps the individual become more self-aware, reduce anxiety, and develop better self-esteem. As well, many people continue to create art long after treatment ends. This provides them with a new hobby and can be done solo or in a social setting, such as art classes.

Art Therapy Ideas 

One of the great things about art therapy is that there are so many activities that fall under the heading of creating art. Art therapists help the people they treat decide on what types they would like to try. Some people do well with more intricate activities like drawing or painting, while others may need something a bit simpler. What the person chooses depends on their personal tastes and interests and any limits they may have on their cognitive abilities.

A lot of different ideas can be used to spark someone’s creative flow. Ideas for what to draw or otherwise create can include prompts for things like:

  • A safe, happy place to be
  • A favorite memory
  • A scene from childhood
  • A person’s favorite traits about themselves
  • A person’s perceived flaws
  • What love feels like
  • A dream the person had
  • What scares the person
  • The future the individual wants to have

Art therapy can include drawing, painting, sculpting, making collages from photographs, taking pictures, using coloring books, and more. Discussions with an art therapist can provide the person with ideas for what sparks their interest and will help them express themselves. The therapist will use their training and experience to interpret the artwork created. This provides opportunities to engage in dialogue that helps the person in the healing process.

Is There Professional Art Therapy? 

People who provide art therapy must be certified and licensed. Art therapists have an undergraduate degree in the field of arts or a related area. They then obtain a master’s degree in art therapy or a related counseling field. This amount of training prepares them to work with clients from diverse backgrounds, including different ages and genders. Some art therapists work independently in their own practices, while others work as part of a team of counselors at an outpatient or residential facility. 

Art therapy proves popular in the treatment of several mental health disorders, including:

Art therapy can also be used in the treatment of dual diagnosis, which is the presence of both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder.

Contact Our Holistic Mental Health Treatment Center in Los Angeles

Do you struggle with a mental health disorder and want to explore all your options for getting help? Going to therapy doesn’t just mean traditional talk therapy. Modern programs like those used by Montare Outpatient include art therapy as part of their menu of therapy modalities. Exercising your artistic side helps express emotions and organize your thoughts. In turn, this helps you open up more in talk therapies and make progress in improving your symptoms.  

Are you interested in exploring the idea of art therapy and other holistic approaches to healing mental illness? Contact us now and let our friendly admissions staff answer your questions.