"One picture is worth a thousand words," because images bypass the language system
moving through parts of the brain that were created before language was established. Art Therapy uses this ability to discover the subconscious motivations and understanding of a client's life situation. An Art Therapist uses art mediums and tools as the means of providing the therapy.
Originally applied to mental health uses only, Art Therapy has found its way into medical practices as well. One oncologist asks his cancer patients to draw different kinds of treatment plans. One patient drew chemotherapy as skulls, and radiation therapy as a smiling sun. Together, they agreed that the patient would benefit from radiation more than chemotherapy.
Creating images can give valuable information to clients and many types of practitioners. It can be used diagnostically for:
Expanding understanding and awareness
Creating images for visualizing health and wholeness
One common misunderstanding about Art Therapy is that one needs artistic talent to benefit from it. People are often surprised to find that some of their work is suitable for showing, however, the primary goal is not art, but therapy.
Art Therapists are able to use art for a multitude of purposes. Some chose to specialize in areas such as: healing trauma, resolving issues of relationship and improving work performance.
Shamanic Art Therapy is a specialty focusing on a personís energetic or spiritual life. Clients explore spiritual beliefs drawing on their own archetypal images and shamanic or mystical practices from many cultures. They may: identify their own guides, saints or totems, sharpen their psychic abilities, or establish energetic boundaries. Clients create not only visual art, but ceremony or ritual to help them identify themselves as spiritual beings.
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