What Art Therapy Is
Art therapy is the creation or observing of art under the supervision of a trained, experienced mental health therapist . The therapist will also discuss your emotional state and help achieve your objective.
Art therapy can also be the creation of art on your own - although you will of course not have the benefit of being able to discuss emotions that come up with a professional. You can make up for this difference by speaking with a trained mental health professional, or at least with the members of a support group. (See "To Learn More".).
Many clinicians have observed and documented significant benefits among people who have used art therapy. Experience indicates that art therapy can help improve various mental and physical symptoms including, but not limited to, reducing pain, anxiety, and stress.
Art therapy is considered to be safe when conducted by a skilled therapist. Uncomfortable feelings may be stirred up at times.
How To Get Started On Your Own
If you haven't done any art, there are free sites on line that can help you get started. For instance, if you are interested in trying out a regular drawing practice, there is a document on the About.com website that can help get you started at http://drawsketch.about.com/
How To Find a Certified Art Therapist
You can find a certified art therapist through the website of American Art Therapy Association at www.arttherapy.org . Click on "Find An Art Therapist."
If you live in or near New York City, check out The Creative Center.
NOTE: Like all complementary treatments, art therapy should be in addition to traditional western medicine, not instead of it.
- National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health www.nccam.nih.gov
- Where To Find Information About Complementary Drugs
A British homeopathic library: http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/hom-inform/
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, www.naturopathic.org
Note that a batch of states license naturopaths to practice medicine. Licensed naturopaths can prescribe drugs from an approved list in some states, but have no prescribing rights in others.