Finding ways to bring some sort of serenity to our lives is quite a common trait amongst mankind. We strive for moments of relaxation, a time when we’re able to let loose from the day’s pressures and perhaps even allow our mind and soul to cross paths in a moment of unchained expressions.
For some of us, relaxing periods are needed to counteract the mundanity of our jobs, the stress of our work life and the challenges we face on a daily basis. For some others, these moments of relaxing expression are needed to help improve cognitive and social interactions that can help to facilitate certain activities and situations in life.
Art therapy is a great way to build relaxational energies and develop skills, improve confidence and even allow those who practice the therapeutic effects of art to grow into their own and interact better in a social environment.
What is art therapy and how does it work?
As described by professionals, art therapy is a specialised approach to dealing with emotions and mental health issues that could stifle a person’s character and development. Depending on how severe the diagnosis, those looking to benefit from art therapy are able to make use of this specialized focus of mental health that uses art supplies to connect with creative processes that can:
- help users to explore their emotions and express through colour or movement,
- help to reduce anxiety and drive energy into a new medium that is art,
- help to increase self-esteem and boost confidence in art therapy goers and
- even help to sort out other psychological setbacks that could cause disturbances in development or mental progress.
Overall, art therapy uses art making processes including music therapy, poetry therapy, dance or movement therapy and of course, our subject of focus; expressive arts therapy. These methods can instigate recovery or overall therapy for physical, mental and also the emotional well-being for people of all ages, whether they are coping with a physical or psychological illness.
What can art therapy help with?
Art therapy is designed for expressive freedom, while scribbling, doodling and painting colourful spreads onto a canvas might seem like a simple pastime, for some art therapy is a mode of complete tranquility that has no borders, no limits and no control over your emotions. The scenarios that filter through your mind are simply displayed in some random or very precise shape or form upon a ground of choice.
Art therapy gives users a chance to escape the realities that might confine them, it also helps to increase self awareness in the individual while targeting diagnosed setbacks such as:
- Stress and Post Traumatic Stress
- Anxiety and Depression
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
- Aging and Geriatric Issues
- Compassion Fatigue
- Heart Disease
- Anorexia, Bulimia and other eating disorders
- Cognitive Impairment
- Substance Abuse
- Family or Relationship Problems
Art therapy allows people to express their feelings through a different subject matter. We often find it hard to express ourselves, especially if we are going through tough bouts of mental insecurity or have to face the challenges of life-long physical or physiological limitations, art therapy allows everyone willing to participate to express themselves however they please.
What does an art therapist do?
Art therapists are tasked with the highly important role of empathy and compassion, with a light sprinkle of creativity, fun and enthusiasm. During an art therapy session, art therapists allow their class of artists to discover what their emotions are expressing. It is an art therapist’s duty to ensure that the space in which their class is working in a safe, encouraging and free from unwanted distractions such as excessively loud music, disruptive actions, TV screens and such like.
Art therapists follow their student’s paths and watch their artworks develop and blossom into highly creative and fully expressive pieces. Some of which are controlled displays and others completely subconscious. Art therapists often use physiological, spiritual, artistic theories or nature exploration practices to encourage their classes, these, in connection with clinical techniques give both verbal and non-verbal students the opportunity to embark on art therapy journeys. Some techniques could include:
- Painting and Finger Painting,
- Doodling, Scribbling and Drawing,
- Sculpting, using Modeling Clay and Making Pottery,
- Textile Work, Collage Making and Card Making.
Whatever the medium and whatever the result, art therapists are simply hoping that their students/patients will express their emotions through the expression of colour, shape and creativity.
Where can I attend sessions of art therapy in Malta?
Art therapy in Malta is slowly becoming a viable source of therapy for people of all ages who all have different life experiences from domestic abuse to eating disorders. Art therapy in Malta is all about giving children, adolescents and adults the ability to connect with their emotions and express their innermost turmoil through the creativity of art.
Once these barriers are broken, the art therapist is able to delve deeper and unleash scenarios that could be the root cause of the psychological angst a person may be dealing with. Art therapy in Malta has the possibility and potential to provide a number of people suffering with mental disorders or mental struggle to ease their suffering.
With art therapy, local artists can give back to the community and create hope, instil compassion and support empathy in the journeys we all go through as a community and as individuals.