By: Fikir Degefu, Anjel Moore, Kristen Ortega, John Yim & Samantha Zaccari
Defintion of Art Therapy
Art therapy is a mental health treatment that incorporates the "use of art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem." (What is Art Therapy, 2013)
Art Therapists work with groups, families, and individuals of all age levels including children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Art Therapy is a creative process, differing from traditional art in that the emphasis is on the process of creating rather than on the end product.
"Art Therapy is viable across across and beyond behavioral health practices." (Potash, 2016). It is considered to be a part of behavioral health practices because it embodies all 7 of the basic aspects that include therapy, lifestyle management, wellness, prevention, assessment, social action, and rehabilitation.
What is Art Therapy Used For?
Art Therapists develop a therapeutic interpersonal relationship with clients, with clear boundaries and goals, to assess and treat life changes or distress relating to:
Anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems and disorders
Substance abuse and other addictions
Family and relationship issues
Abuse and domestic violence
Social and emotional difficulties related to disability and illness
Trauma and loss
Physical, cognitive, and neurological problems
Psychosocial difficulties related to medical issues
Where is Art Therapy Practiced?
Participation in Art Therapy Can Lead To:
-New models of living
-Increased self-awareness, acceptance, and self-esteem
-Resolve conflicts and problems
-Develop interpersonal skills
According to Curry and Kasser's (2005) findings that the level of anxiety reduction afforded by art making may be related to the degree of free expression and creativity inherent in the activity.
A study by Sandmire and others "suggest that art making is a means for reducing commonly experienced anxiety through a temporary, relaxing escape from reality." (Sandmire, 2012)
Interview with Art Therapists
Featuring Nicole Tuazon and Ryan Lopez
Nicole is the Fall 2018 semester's instructor of the Art Therapy session of Fitness 4 Finals. Ryan had taken the initiative to organize and instruct the very first Art Therapy sessions for Fitness 4 Finals at UNLV. He has since graduated and continues to use art therapy in his line of work.