The Benefits of Art Therapy

Picture yourself atop a mountain overlooking a city or valley, or sitting by your window with a stunning view that you can’t tear your eyes away from. The serene beauty of what lays before you is enough to calm your soul, help you “get away” from it all and gets you in touch with yourself once again.

Now add an easel, paint, chalk or even clay to the mix. Putting down what you see and feel on paper has extraordinary effects. The power to capture a moment for a lifetime, interpret nature or your feelings and pencil what words cannot express- it borders on remarkable. And it’s not something that only artists can do. We have often heard it said that ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ and it is true. Using art as a form of therapy and means to express yourself and as a tool to overcome the big and small challenges of life is a privilege available to all.

So how exactly do you benefit from art therapy?

  • It helps facilitate expression for those who aren’t used to expressing their emotions

  • When individuals have been traumatised, verbal expression is inhibited. Art therapy provides a means to communicate and deal with the trauma without words

  • Engaging ones creative side encourages emotional growth and self-exploration

  • It helps in the development of interpersonal skills and healthy coping mechanisms

  • It helps promote personal independence, learning how to be self-reliant and self-sufficient

Using art as therapy is a method used the world over, and in South Africa researchers and therapists have seen the benefits such as

  • In a country where many subjects are whispered about, it is a less threatening medium to use than talking in itself

  • It is a form of therapy that can transcend the different cultural and language barriers

  • For many children who head homes and assume adult responsibilities, it affords them a chance to play and be kids, also contributing to their psycho-emotional development

  • Its accessible to the mentally and physically disabled children who in many cases do not have access to any form of therapy or support

Young and old alike, art therapy, when used and facilitated under the right conditions, can be empowered through their artwork to give them an avenue to communicate and 

be free with their emotions. It helps improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the recipients.

In the words of legendary artiste extraordinaire Pablo Picasso “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Pablo Picasso quote

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