Thursday, May 13, 2010

What is Art Therapy and Why is it Important to Work With an Art Therapist?

What I know about art:
art is fun
art can be messy
art surprises
art tells a story
art can keep a secret
art is curious
art is poignant
art saves lives

What is Art Therapy and why is it important to work with an Art Therapist?
Art Therapy is making art with a person who is educated about how art and your psyche relate. Working with a real Art Therapist (there is a master’s degree and nationally recognized credential for this field!) makes a difference. Because art making is so powerfully transformative, huge shifts can come very quickly. It is important to know how to contain big feelings as they come up. Some of us need containment and some of us are so numbed out and our feelings are so shut down that we need help to become MORE expressive. You might not be aware that some art materials could be triggering to those of us that are carrying scary memories.

Q. What art skills are necessary for art therapy?
A. The simple answer is none. Art therapy requires no artistic ability. The art therapist offers guidance and support and the opportunity to explore issues of concern using simple art materials. Art can be used to help you express your feelings in a safe way.

Q. If I don’t even know what I’m feeling, how can art help me?
A. Some art materials can give you more energy and some can calm you. A good Art Therapist will know what materials and interventions are appropriate for you as you work together.

Q. What kinds of results can I expect from Art Therapy?
A. With art therapy you might find dreams changing. You might become more aware of your surroundings during the day. You might find your relationship with yourself and with your past, with the important people in your life, is changing. This is noteworthy: as you gain more control in your art you may find you gain more control in your life, too.

My personal philosophy about art making is this: I believe that we are made of the same creative stuff that created the universe. The energy of creation is in every molecule of us. Therefore, when you stimulate creativity in one area of your life (by making art, dancing, writing a poem, knitting, etc.) other parts of your creativity are also stimulated. When we do something creative we begin to heal in thousands of unseen ways because we are tapping into that original creative source from which we are made.
There is much more information about Art Therapy out there. Please visit my website.

My name is Susan Boyes, and my practice is called Center for Creative Growth.
I am a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist working in Ann Arbor, MI.
I have a fan page on Facebook that will help you to keep current on what's new in Art Therapy, globally and locally.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about art therapy.