In Maryland, Art Therapists are licensed professional psychotherapists who may provide services involving the application of counseling principles and methods in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and amelioration of psychological problems, emotional conditions, or mental conditions of individuals or groups. (Source: Maryland Health Occupations Code Section 17-308).
So the question is Why art therapy? When you can choose from among Licensed Professional Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Addictions Therapists and various Expressive Therapists – why would you choose to work with an Art Therapist? That word “art” in Art Therapy may trigger painful memories from an unkind art teacher in school, or may seem “New Age” or frivolous. Besides you can’t do “art”, can you? Why not stick with the familiar, the expected, the “normal” verbal psychotherapy? What possible advantage could you gain from venturing into, for you, the unexpected and unexplored territory of Art Therapy?
Art Therapists are educated and trained on par with other licensed psychotherapists such as Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Marriage and Family Therapists. It certainly can be argued that psychotherapy training for Art Therapists exceeds that of other disciplines.
Every individual is born with the ability to be creative, a skill that sometimes lies dormant, but may be revived at any point in life. Your creativity provides the foundation for personal growth.
Art Therapy naturally engages you in the therapeutic process. In talk therapy your defenses allow you to avoid or talk around whatever issues bring you to therapy. In Art Therapy insight and change flow more directly from the creative process and may occur sooner than in talk therapy alone.
Art Therapy involves the body, mind and spirit working together to empower change in the whole person.
Art Therapy allows the safe expression of complex feelings, ideas and memories that are sometimes too difficult for words.
Art Therapy gives vision to answers from within where clients can process their own healing wisdom.
Art Therapy activates more areas of the brain, linking both hemispheres and the upper and lower areas of the brain.This enhances growth of new neural pathways that open the doors to new possibilities.
Art Therapy helps to focus on relevant issues that facilitates a state of mindfulness.
Art Therapy by nature includes multiple sensory components, especially advantageous in working with trauma, eating disorders, substance abuse and dissociation.
Art Therapy and children are a natural match. Children can often successfully draw about their issues although their vocabuary and verbal understanding are limited. Indeed, therapy can seem like play to children while they learn to regulate emotions and build self-esteem.
Art Therapy can tap into your inborn creativity to provide hope, new meaning, and expanded life options.
Art Therapy can be fun. Psychotherapy does not always have to be challenging and emotionally painful. Artworks can serve as psychological and emotional containers to buffer strong memories and emotions. A playful approach permits the safe learning of life lessons.